Friday, September 10, 2010

Law School Blood Drive in Honor of 9/11

WHAT: Blood Drive
WHEN: Tuesday September 14, noon to 5:30pm
WHERE: Center for Law & Justice (map & directions)

I don't usually publish such long entries, but Dean Andy Rothman of the Law School sent this to my inbox earlier today and I thought it was worth reading. He wrote the following:

Photo by Stephanie Lazzaro
As you are all probably aware, Saturday will mark the 9th anniversary of the bombing of the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon, and the attempted bombing of a third landmark, using commercial jets as weapons, and using the horrific deaths of the innocent men, women and children they carried and that were on site at the targets to deliver a message of hatred and terror.

As I look around me today, I find our headlines filed with the news of our own, domestic brand of hatred, fear and intolerance, purportedly in reaction to those who brought such destruction to lower Manhattan, and I am saddened by what seems to me to be the worst in human nature. At the same time, as the anniversary of the attack approaches, I am reminded of what I personally observed here in the days that followed, and I am heartened by what I remember as the very best.

Many of us were here nine years ago, and remember not just the horror as we saw first hand the smoke rise over lower Manhattan, but also the subsequent coalescence of this community. As just one example, transportation into and out of Newark and New York was impossible that day, and almost all communications grids were stalled for hours, and yet by 1:30 that afternoon, every single law student and employee of the law school had secured either a means to reach home, or a place to spend the night. And across the campus, temporary housing arrangements were made for those students and staff in other units that were not lucky enough to be able to get home. And the generosity of spirit on this campus lasted for weeks thereafter.
Plaque in the Norman Samuels Plaza in memory of the men and women of Rutgers lost in 9/11
Rutgers-Newark became a staging ground for rescue workers in the days that followed, with the Golden Dome Gymnasium being converted into a center for housing workers in their down shifts, and amassing and distributing needed goods for the workers and survivors. The entire Rutgers Newark community became important contributors to the workforce at the Golden Dome, with student volunteers putting aside their studies a little to serve a bigger purpose, working side by side with their faculty and staff comrades in an enterprise that was (for once) not school related.

At that time, I was besieged with inquiries as to whether the Law School could organize an on-site blood drive, on the assumption that the survivors were tapping out blood supplies, and that we could help.

Thus began what has become an annual tradition at Rutgers Law School: the September 11th Blood Drive. (Actually, semi-annual: we do it again on or around Valentine’s Day.) Each year, our contribution has grown.

The victims and their families deserve our continued remembrance. And so I ask that you all observe a moment of silence at 9:45 on Saturday, wherever you are. But I also ask that you experience the positive energy this institution generated in the wake of the bombing, and come together in the Atrium on Tuesday afternoon between noon and 5:30pm, with your sleeves rolled up, ready to give a little of yourself. I hope to see you there.

Andrew J. Rothman, Esq., Sr. Assistant Dean
Rutgers School of Law - Newark

P.S. The process for giving blood is a bit more complicated than just taking your place on a cot and rolling up a sleeve. You must first fill out a one-page questionnaire, intended to establish whether giving
blood would pose a health risk to you, and whether your experiences may risk contaminating the blood supply and endangering recipients of your donation. There are many who have argued that the questionnaire, which is mandated by federal law, is itself discriminatory, as it precludes blood donations from, among other groups, sexually active gay and bisexual men, and from people who have recently traveled to certain countries.

I nevertheless encourage you all to welcome the Blood Bank on Tuesday, and to fill out the questionnaire, even if you are certain that you will be turned away. The Blood Bank is not the author of the regulations that require it to ask these questions, and I can think of no better means of protesting than to arm the Blood Bank with the stack of potential donors it had to turn away, as it lobbies for changes in the regulations. And blood supplies are once again low – for instance, right now, 0- blood is at a one day supply and b- blood is at a two day supply.

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