There's a "Ground Zero Mosque" In Every American's Backyard There's a "Ground Zero Mosque" In Every American's Backyard

There's a "Ground Zero Mosque" In Every American's Backyard

by Alissa Walker

September 14, 2010
Let's turn this sudden interest in urban planning into a call to get involved at the neighborhood scale.

The Burlington Coat Factory on the planned site of Park51, viewed in Google Street View

The rendering for the 9/11 Memorial by Peter Walker and Michael Arad

You may argue that Ground Zero is, perhaps, the one place in the country that belongs to all of us—because of what happened there, it's universally an "American" property. And maybe collectively, as a country, we should all unite to protect it. Agreed. So instead of fighting about what happens outside of the memorial's borders, why not lend some much-needed assistance to what will be one of the most poignant public spaces in the country? Have you donated to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum?

I challenge anyone who has spent even 15 minutes reading about the two blocks between a proposed community center and a memorial in a city far, far away to turn your focus back to where you actually live. Maybe check out some of the far more disturbing distances in your own neighborhood. How close is the liquor store to the nearest elementary school? How far is that farmers market from the lowest-income part of the city? And what are you doing about it?

In the very near future, something you don't want—or something you do—will be coming to your neighborhood. Whether it's a "Ground Zero Mosque" or a "9/11 Memorial," whether you're for or against it, you can take an active role to make your neighborhood evolves in the way that you want it to. What could be more American than that?

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There's a "Ground Zero Mosque" In Every American's Backyard