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    News Round-Up: October 29, 2013

    Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

    Hawaii is up next to legalize gay marriage; an official review on NSA programs is underway; and social media sites criticize tasteless blackface and Trayvon Martin costumes. Meanwhile, the Jonas Brothers break up, and Julianne Hough receives some intense criticism for her offensive Halloween costume.

    -Sandy + Maura


    Hawaii governor expects gay marriage bill to pass ‘within week’,http://rtvote.com/1f1FWUw
    Hawaii’s legislature is expected to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage “within a week or so.” The state’s House of Representatives will pass the bill on Thursday if it passes Senate; both chambers have Democratic majorities. Governor Neil Abercrombie stated that he hopes the bill will pass before January, at the very latest.

    White House: Review will address global NSA concernshttp://rtvote.com/1gXYp8Q
    As more nations become enraged by NSA’s spying programs, the White House has assured the public that the collection of data on allies will not continue. A review of these programs is currently in the works, and a report on the review will be due by the end of the year. Spain is the latest country that has joined in on protests against the U.S.’s surveillance tactics; others include Germany, France, Brazil, and Mexico.

    Trick-or-treating takes a tasteless turnhttp://rtvote.com/1g9uU2E
    Halloween is right around the corner, and so are some of the most offensive costumes in Halloween history. Some of the more tasteless trick-or-treaters are donning Ariel Castro costumes, blackface costumes, and even Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman costumes. There has been a backlash on social media sites (rightfully so) against such getups, and the Utah Jazz and Julianne Hough have received such criticism.

    5 killed in Dallas-area shootings; suspect arrestedhttp://rtvote.com/1f1LVZx
    Police have arrested Charles Everett Brownlow, Jr., 36, for killing five people in a shooting spree in the small town of Terrell, Texas. The murders started at 5 PM Monday, and Brownlow was captured and arrested early Tuesday. The victims have not been officially identified.

    Report: White House knew plans would be canceled under ACA,http://rtvote.com/1gY57eY
    About 50%-75% of 14 million consumers who buy health insurance individually will have their plans cancelled in the next year because their current policies fail to meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act. Initially, the White House said that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010, could be kept even if they did not meet the requirements of the new healthcare law. The Department of Health and Human Services later narrowed that provision. NBC News reports that the Obama administration has known for three years that people’s insurance would be canceled. The White House has responded that those whose policies are voided will be automatically shifted to plans with better protections. Additionally, they claim that nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their plans, but the failure of some plans to meet the new minimum standards should be expected.


    George Clooney and John Prendergast discuss what should be done to stop the chaos in Sudan in “Sudan could become a second Syria,” http://rtvote.com/1f1Puij

    Errol Louis talks about Banksy’s insensitive slam against New Yorkers and Americans in “Banksy’s insult shows he’s clueless about New York,” http://rtvote.com/19PKcV9


    Julianne Hough Goes Blackface as Orange is the New Black Character for Halloween Costume, http://rtvote.com/1gY8ouS

    Jonas Brothers Break Up: “It was a Unanimous Decision,” http://rtvote.com/1gY8H8U

    Dax Shepard Doesn’t Have a Wedding Ring, Says It Cost Him $142 to Marry Kristen Bell,http://rtvote.com/1gY9t63

    Adam Levine Says Fiancée Behati Prinsloo Made Him Believe in Marriage,http://rtvote.com/1gY9R4i


    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    News Round-Up: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

    Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

    Reflection & remembrance unfold on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks; President Obama addresses the nation on Syria; new Apple iPhone price stirs concerns; and the NYC Democratic primary declares Bill de Blasio as the winner. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus gets naked; Emily Blunt is expecting her first child; and celebrities step out for the 2013 Toronto Film Festival.



    9/11 anniversary a time of remembrance, reflection, http://rtvote.com/17WQe4d
    Today the United States steps back from the brink of conflict with Syria to reflect and remember the nearly 3,000 victims from the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  In New York, hundreds of friends and families of the victims stood silently as bagpipes played in the background. President Obama marked the anniversary with a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House.

    The Story of an Unsung 9/11 Hero, http://rtvote.com/17WQRe0
    On the anniversary of 9/11 the country is taking time to reflect on the many heroes that emerged from the crowd on that terrible day. One of those heroes was Benjamin Cark, a chef who saved hundreds of lives in the South Tower.

    Planned as Call to Act, Obama’s Speech Became a Plea for Time, http://rtvote.com/1ei7sQP
    President Obama addressed the nation on Tuesday evening from the East Room of the White House to discuss the U.S. response to the crisis in Syria. In his speech he postponed a vote in Congress that would have decided whether or not the U.S. takes military action in Syria. This delay was announced in order to allow more time to pursue diplomatic options.

    Apple falls on concern about iPhone pricing, http://rtvote.com/1ei6t2P
    Apple revealed two new iPhones on Tuesday that will cost a cool $549 without a two-year cell phone contract. Apple shares dropped more than 5% in afternoon trading on Wednesday over concerns that the new iPhone 5c is priced too high.  Analysts believe that it is too pricy to have appeal in emerging markets.

    New York City

    DeBlasio tops NYC mayoral race; Spitzer loses, http://rtvote.com/15kl1JH
    With 98 percent of precincts reporting, de Blasio had 40.2 percent of the vote with former Comptroller Bill Thompson in second place at 26.2 percent. He easily topped his field of competitors in the Democratic primary to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


    Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball Breaks Record for VEVO’s Most View Video, http://rtvote.com/17WNBz7

    Emily Blunt Pregnant, Expecting First Child With John Krasinski, http://rtvote.com/1ehZjM4

    2013 Toronto Film Festival: Star Sightings, http://rtvote.com/1ehZzL9

    Prince Harry and Prince William Broker 25 Billion Euro Deal During Fundraiser, http://rtvote.com/1ei09sh

    Sharon Osbourne Reveals Pre-Ozzy Fling With…Jay Leno, http://rtvote.com/17WPLyN

    Bio: Maura graduated from the University of Dayton in 2011 with a BA in International Studies and French. During the course of her studies she was elected Student Body Vice President where she worked to make student activity funding more affordable & fair to the campus community. Following graduation, Maura joined the 2012 Obama Campaign as grassroots Field Organizer in Ohio (the battleground of all battleground states). She now continues her passion of engaging and building political power for young people with Rock the Vote.

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com


    Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

    Mitt Romney comes out victorious on Super Tuesday, but Republican commentators are still conflicted; voter ID laws are tested; the United Nations is sending humanitarian chief Valerie Amos to negotiate aid with Syria; and five Anonymous hackers have been charged with cyber assault. Meanwhile, Apple will unveil the new iPad today; celebrity chefs are caught up in court; and Peyton Manning will leave The Colts.

    Kelly + Caitlin


    Mitt Romney Wins 6 of 10 States on Super Tuesday, http://bit.ly/zPVeTx
    Alaska and Ohio, the final Super Tuesday states to report their numbers, were called this morning in favor of Mitt Romney. Romney now has won six out of ten states. Rick Santorum snagged three states: Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota. Newt Gingrich won in his home state of Georgia. With Romney winning Alaska, Ohio, Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia, he has now won significantly more delegates than any other candidate. While Romney holds a nice lead, making it difficult for other candidates to catch up to him, he still did not win enough delegates to end the primary fight. Strategists are now pointing out Romney’s trouble in the South and mid-America.  The primary may continue for another month. Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri and Louisiana still need to vote.

    Syria crisis: UN humanitarian chief arrives in Damascus, http://bbc.in/ykAnIY
    United Nations humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has arrived in Syria in order convince the government to allow aid to reach damaged cities. According to the Syria officials, the International Committee of the Red Cross has not been allowed to enter Baba Amr due to security concerns. More envoys, including the United Nations Arab League, will also try to enter Syria this week. More than 7,500 people have died during the violence that has erupted in Syria over the past year.

    5 alleged members of Anonymous hacking group charged, http://wapo.st/w9TKaT
    Five members associated with the infamous cyber hacking firm Anonymous have been charged in connection with a string of cyber-assaults on U.S. companies and government web sites. A member of the Anonymous network was “turned” by the FBI and has revealed confidential information on the five members’ activities.  In one of the most recent assaults, involved hackers obtained emails from Stratfor and sent them to Wikileaks.

    Dover mortuary pressed to avoid dumping of 9/11 remains at landfill, official says, http://wapo.st/wNaWKy
    Officials at the U.S. Dover Air Force Base wanted to have the cremated remains of unidentified 9/11 victims buried at sea. But military officials  dumped the ashes in landfills instead. Official William Zwicharowski, in an in-depth interview, regrets not pushing to have the remains placed elsewhere. Lawmakers, victims’ families, and most military officials believed that the unidentified 9/11 remains had been cremated and buried  at Arlington National Cemetery.

    HuffPo Report: “Voter ID Laws May Still Be Discriminatory Despite High Voter Turnout In Super Tuesday Primaries,” http://huff.to/A1jQoE

    (via Wisconsin State Journal) Judge grants temporary injunction barring enforcement of voter ID law in April election: A Dane County judge on Tuesday barred the enforcement of the state photo ID law at polling places during the general election on April 3, calling it an “extremely broad and largely needless” impairment of the right to vote. Circuit Judge David Flanagan said the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera had demonstrated that their lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker and the state Government Accountability Board would probably succeed on its merits and had demonstrated the likelihood of irreparable harm if the photo ID law is allowed to stand. Flanagan granted a temporary injunction ordering Walker and the GAB to “cease immediately any effort to enforce or implement the photo identification requirements” of the law, pending a trial on a permanent injunction scheduled before him on April 16, http://bit.ly/x312KP

    (via Hot Air) WW2 vet fails voter ID test in Ohio: A Portage County World War II veteran was turned away because his driver’s license had expired in January and his new Veterans Affairs ID did not include his home address. “My beef is that I had to pay a driver to take me up there because I don’t walk so well and have to use this cane and now I can’t even vote,” said Paul Carroll, 86, who has lived in Aurora nearly 40 years, running his own business, Carroll Tire, until 1975. “I had to stop driving, but I got the photo ID from the Veterans Affairs instead, just a month or so ago. You would think that would count for something. I went to war for this country, but now I can’t vote in this country,” http://bit.ly/yuOGVv

    Apple Expected To Unveil New iPad, http://n.pr/AulOtX
    Apple will unveil the new iPad this afternoon in San Francisco. Apple has kept the details mum, only showing a picture of an iPad and saying “We have something you really have to see. And touch.” Tech experts suspect the new iPad will have a very sharp resolution screen and faster network speeds. Other rumors cite that Apple also may announce their exploration into TV. Since the iPad’s 2010 debut, Apple has sold 55 million iPads.


    Paula Deen’s Attorneys: Sexual Harassment Charges Are Baseless, Inflammatory, http://huff.to/xyGdbf

    Mario Batali Settles Tip Lawsuit For $5.25 Million, http://huff.to/zRxKFD

    Uma Thurman Expecting A Baby Girl, http://huff.to/wACHmX

    Source: Colts to release Peyton Manning, http://es.pn/AnikFn

    Justin Bieber’s mom to write a memoir, http://thedc.com/x9l1oW

    He’s back! You may not like it, but Maria Shriver is giving Ahhnold a second chance, http://trib.in/znNNs8

    Kelly Holleran

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com


    Monday, September 12th, 2011

    In today’s news, the 9/11 memorial is open to the public; Franken puts the smack down on von Spakovsky over new voter laws; Pawlenty endorses Romney; and Watson goes from Jeopardy! to hospitals. In entertainment news, Spartacus‘ Andy Whitfield has died of cancer at 39, Amy Smart gets hitched, and Charlie Sheen gets roasted.

    Coral + Caitlin


    September 11 memorial opens to public, http://bit.ly/niwmrN
    On the ten year anniversary of September 11th, the memorial opened to families of victims. Family members who attended the opening said they were please and proud of the memorial. Today, the memorial opens to the public. The main aspects of the memorial are reflecting pools surrounded by walls. The walls are engraved with the names of the 3000 victims who died on 9/11.

    Military Planes Sent to Escort Passenger Jets, http://on.wsj.com/qX8B7g
    Military jets were sent to escort a flight from Los Angeles to New York after passengers refused to leave the bathroom of the plane. Authorities says they were not sure if it was a real threat or just a misunderstanding based on anxiety from flying on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson slams Florida voting law during congressional hearing, http://bit.ly/oTFh8o
    U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is saying that new voting laws are an attack on the Democratic party. The new laws reduce Florida’s early voting days from 14 to 8, imposes harsh requirements for third-party registration, requires voters who move counties to cast a provisional ballot instead of a regular ballot, and eliminates voting on the Sunday before the election.

    Al Franken Smacks Down Hans von Spakovsky Over Flawed Voter ID Stats, http://bit.ly/pu5cGR
    At Thursday’s voting law hearing, Senator Al Franken asked Hans von Spakovsky how he could have excluded crucial statistical information in his study on voter identification. “Can I ask you something?” Franken interjected. “Do you know how much Mississippi grew in terms of black population during those years versus Georgia?” Also, Professor Justin Levitt took shots at von Spakovsky, saying that he has not had much experience with statistics.

    Pawlenty endorses Romney, http://politi.co/oVTOIX
    “I believe he’s going to be our party’s nominee,” Pawlenty said on “Fox and Friends,” about Mitt Romney. Pawlenty dropped out of the race a little under a month ago, and he is now endorsing Mitt Romney for President.

    (via POLITICO Playbook) CNN/TEA PARTY DEBATE, 8-10 p.m. in Tampa: eight candidates … Romney and Perry have the center podiums … questions from Wolf Blitzer and Republican Tea Party voters joining live via satellite from three battleground states — Phoenix, Ariz.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portsmouth, Va. — and from inside the hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa … also questions from Facebook and Twitter (#CNNTeaParty) … airs live on CNN, CNNI, CNN.com, CNN en Espanol, and to troops around the world on American Forces Network.

    #Wherewereyou on 9/11?, http://bit.ly/67anjY
    The Rock the Vote family shares its September 11th memories. Check out where RTV staff, volunteers, and celebrities such as DJ Skee, Rockie Fresh, Perez Hilton, Michelle Branch, Outasight, Shaun Cooper, and Smoove were on 9/11/01.

    IBM’s Watson Gets a Job, http://bit.ly/rtyudC
    IBM’s Watson will be helping doctors with diagnosis and treatment suggestions. IBM and WellPoint are working together to get Watson into hospitals.

    (via POLITICO Morning Tech) ALSO: PBS TWEETS NAMES OF VICTIMS – If you checked out PBS and its @NewsHourLive account between midnight Friday and today, you may have noticed it is tweeting out the names of the nearly 3,000 who lost their lives on Sept. 11. Here’s the story, with instructions on how to find specific names: http://to.pbs.org/qyocXE


    Amar J. Patel says, “A student weighs in on same-day voter registration debate,” http://bit.ly/ovTN6V

    Amy Smart and Her HGTV Hottie Are Now Married!, http://eonli.ne/nXpSSm

    Bob Woodward says, “In Cheney’s memoir, it’s clear Iraq’s lessons didn’t sink in,” http://wapo.st/mYVfIe

    Andy Whitfield, Star of TV’s Spartacus, Dies of Cancer at 39, http://bit.ly/oA5eI7

    Charlie Sheen Gets Roasted, Brooke Mueller by His Side, http://eonli.ne/pqw3X4

    Jane Lynch as Emmys Host: “You’re Going to Be Seeing Some Skin!”, http://eonli.ne/nt9NC2

    Bio: Coral is the Marketing Intern at Rock the Vote

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com

    #Wherewereyou on 9/11?

    Friday, September 9th, 2011

    Last Sunday marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11. At Rock the Vote, we’ve been thinking about how different generations remember the events of that day. There is no question that every single American was impacted; however, it is interesting to examine how different generations evaluate politics and the world.

    Nearly everyone you talk to remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the events of 9/11. These memories are so vivid because the events were shockingly tragic and for some – particularly young people – a first awakening to a world outside of themselves.

    We have asked each member of the Rock the Vote family to tell us when they first heard about the events of September 11, 2011. The answers are different, inspiring, and interesting as they demonstrate that we are all a part of different generations, but on September 11, 2001 every person felt the same thing.

    Share your own 9/11 memory with us on Twitter (@RocktheVote) using the hashtag #wherewereyou or submit here.

    “When the phone rings at a really early hour, I now immediately think either something awful has happened or someone doesn’t know that I am on the West Coast.  Maybe it is because of this morning, ten years ago.  I was asleep on the couch in San Francisco, CA.  I had five staff there working on a ballot initiative for solar energy, and I was doing a site-visit to check in on them and help with the campaign.  The house phone was next to the couch I was using as a bed, so I was the one to answer it.  It was the father of one of my staff.  He told me a plane had just crashed into the twin towers in New York City and to turn on the television.  The rest is blurry in detail but unforgettable in how it felt:  we seemed removed from what had happened on the East Coast and didn’t understand its gravity (we didn’t have a television), so we tried to go to work, but the buses weren’t running on a normal schedule and when we got there no one else was around.  An eery feeling grew strong as it sunk in that something really awful had happened.  So I gathered my staff together, and we went to find a television and watch the news.” Heather Smith, President

    “It was a bright and sunny morning as I headed to the bus and then to the orange line metro train, which I took every morning from my Fairfax apartment into Washington DC. I was wearing blue capris, a blue tank top and brown wedges (which I clearly remember because I knew if I needed to run they were the worst shoes to be wearing).  I worked at 2121K Street at DDB, an advertising agency based in Seattle with a small practice of 4 people in Washington DC.  Two of my colleagues were traveling so it was only myself and one other gentleman in the office at the time.  I remember getting an AOL instant message from one of my friends saying a plane had hit the World Trade Center— we immediate turned on the TV and were glued to it. At that time I was in shock, but it wasn’t until there were reports of smoke at the Pentagon that I really started to freak out.  I called my mom who was working in Pennsylvania, and I remember her saying, “Stay calm, get home and don’t take the metro.”  At that point I had no idea what to do but followed the crowd as our entire building evacuated onto K street.  The streets looked like a scene from a movie.  My colleague told me I should come with him because his wife was picking him up at a metro station in Maryland and they would give me a ride to my house.  I immediately trusted his opinion.   We headed to the metro (which was completely empty), and I will never forget the knot in my stomach as I sat on that train praying we would make it to our final destination; I hated thinking we were underground and helpless. It never felt so good to be home. Ten years later, I remember that morning like it was yesterday.” Chrissy Faessen, Vice President of Marketing & Communications

    “On September 11th, 2001 I was a student at George Washington University and living in Washington DC. That morning my phone kept ringing and ringing as I slept through the calls, eventually waking up to my sister’s frantic voice telling me that we were under attack.  I turned on the TV to find images of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center over and over, and then I watched on live TV as the buildings fell to the ground.  I called my parents who were in Hawaii, where it was still the middle of the night, to awaken them to the news that ‘We are getting bombed.’  After watching the news for some time, I went over to my friends’ apartment down the hall where their balcony overlooked a view of the Pentagon and a rising stream of smoke in the sky.  There was a stillness in the city I’ve never experienced before – everyone had either left or gone home and the only vehicles driving around were National Guard and police cars. When I did walk around in the afternoon the few people we walked by looked you in the eye and said hello – which rarely happens on public sidewalks.  I remember getting a small flag and bedazzling it onto a hoodie,  and I remember flags everywhere for months.  As a photographer, I went that night to the Pentagon and then to New York City a week later.  I’ll never forget the missing peoples signs everywhere, the canisters of nitrogen lining the sidewalks, the messages written in dust on every window, or the military personnel guarding Ground Zero, handing out tissues to those who came to view the site. ” Kelly Fogel, Artist & Label Relations Manager

    It was another early morning surf session at Will Rogers state beach in Santa Monica, CA. I woke up around sunrise, grabbed my board and walked a few blocks down to the beach as I normally did at that time. I was completely clueless as to what the rest of the world was doing as I paddled out past the waves.  Life to me was peaceful, calm and quiet with the exception of a few seagulls. After about an hour, I headed back home thinking I should shower and get to work. As I walked into the house where I was staying, my friend was standing in her kitchen listening to the radio reports of planes crashing into buildings. She looked confused as she tried to explain to me what was going on. As I sat down to listen to the reports and drink my coffee, my girlfriend and now wife called the house asking if we had heard the news. Our peaceful morning turned into something very sad that we’ll never forget!” David Pruter, Digital Director

    When the attacks took place on September 11, I was singing my innocent little eighth grade heart out in chorus class. All of us, including our teacher, were completely unaware of what had happened. I was walking to my locker when I ran into my friend Kelly, who told me that two planes had been flown into the World Trade Center towers. She told me people from the Middle East had done it. At the time, I didn’t understand why people from the Middle East had done it, or what type of people they were. There was a definite buzz that day about the attacks, but most of the students seem more interested in whether or not we’d get to go home early from school.  We didn’t, and the day resumed normally. In retrospect, it’s bizarre that such an impacting event did not stop September 11, 2001 from being a normal school day for my peers and me. I guess I can attribute the odd air of normalcy to a sheltered Connecticut life, where living in a bubble caused that day’s conversations to not completely center on the politics and tragedy of the attacks. It was only when I went to French class, my last period of the day, that I realized that these events were not normal every day occurrences that would slip away from the headlines in a few days. As we sat down out our desks, Monsieur Minnick was already sitting at his with his face buried in his hands. We waited for him to look up and start teaching us the imperfect tense, but he didn’t move. Instead, he continued to sit there with a look of pure sadness on his face. We also sat in silence, some of us exchanging confused glances with one another. Most of knew, however, why Monsieur Minnick was not speaking. It was this tense period of silence when it really sunk in for me – “3,000 people died. 3,000 is a huge number. Maybe I shouldn’t call them ‘people,’ – fathers, mothers, family members.” When the bell rang, Monsieur Minnick signaled that we could go by telling us he hoped we realized that what happened today is truly awful. We filed out to leave, and I kept wondering on the bus ride home what this would mean for New York City, for the family members of those who died, for our government, for the people in the Middle East, for me, for Monsieur Minnick, for everyone. Needless to say, after the all-night news reports and being home with our families, my peers and I went to school on September 12, 2001 not as normally as we did the day before.” Caitlin Maguire, Marketing & Operations Manager

    “I was sitting in my 11th grade Contemporary Lit class. At the beginning of the school year, we had gone through key events for each year since the early 1960s. We had added a couple of events to the year 2001 at the beginning of the school year, so I didn’t think anything of it when my Cross Country coach/English teacher asked the class to get out our timeline and add that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center in NYC. The whole class jotted down this new event and we went on to discuss The Catcher in the Rye. It wasn’t until after class that we heard what had happened on the East Coast. The city cancelled school for the rest of the day, and all extracurricular events were postponed. I was on the cross-country team at the time, and I remember going out for a run because I didn’t know what else to do. I think I ran the farthest I have ever run, and I spent that time thinking about what was happening on the East Coast, how these events would affect my family because my father served in the National Guard at the time, and what effect it would have on the world.” Megan Simpson, Street Team Manager

    “In Africa, Liberia is widely known and referred to as America’s child, as our country was colonized by freed American slaves. America and Liberia share many commonalities, and every Liberian feels a sense of achievement when he or she has the opportunity to come to America. On the fateful Tuesday of 9/11, I was on the University of Liberia Campus about to attend one of my classes. I saw people moving about frantically, saying they had received calls that the Twin Towers in America had been bombed by terrorists. I was so afraid. I thought that the world had come to an end. I was asking myself, “What is America going to do now?” We were told we could see the events on TV, so I ran to the nearest one at the Student Center and witnessed a complete state of disaster that sent tears running down my cheeks. I cried in a loud voice because of the frustration, confusion, sorrow, fear and vulnerability I saw on the faces of the survivors and witnesses. I stayed watching the TV for over three hours before going home, where I watched the news until the morning. The events were talked about by everyone I came across. Because of my perception of America at the time, I wondered how and why that happened. I still am not sure that I have found the answer.” Isatu Ville, Liberian Fellow

    “Memories from childhood are generally fuzzy if even remembered at all. However, I remember where I was on September 11th, 2001. I was merely ten years old and sitting in my fourth grade homeroom when my teacher got a phone call. She was normally a jolly woman with bright red cheeks, and it confused me when the color drained from her face. She hung up the phone, and told us the tragedy of what had happened. At the time, I did not understand the severity of the matter, nor could I have told you what a terrorist attack was, but I was glad when my mom picked me up from school early. The rest of the day is just a blur of events. I remember my grandmother crying and watching the footage over and over again with my uncle but not much else. In a way, I’m kind of glad I was too young to fully experience the full emotional force of that awful day.” Coral Ramsey, Marketing and Communications Intern

    On September 11, 2001, I was a sophomore in high school. I woke up and got ready like every morning and went to school, pretty sure nothing was going to happen. After my first period Spanish class, I went to my locker and headed to second period History. It wasn’t until I got to class that someone told me what had happened. Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center Buildings. The entire time in class, we watched as events unfolded and learned of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon and then of the fourth that crashed in Pennsylvania. Later on that night, I remember sitting around the television with my family and watching as day turned into night and stories began to unfold about the horror that was that day. Our country and the world changed on September 11, 2001.” Carlos Acosta, Field Intern

    “Your first week of High School in any small New York suburban town is more often than not full of the usual occurrences- falling down the stairs (or UP the stairs in my particular case) or finding out you registered for the wrong level Spanish class. Unfortunately for the class of 2005, there was nothing usual about our first week of High School. Excited to have been able to locate my Social Studies class, I was prepping for a class project with two friends when our teacher was called out of the room in what was certainly not a settling scene. When she returned crying, the loud speaker turned on to a speechless and obviously grief stricken Principal Kaplan- a sound that would force flashbacks of that morning every time the announcement bell rang for the next 4 years. As the news of the towers began to flow in, we all sat together in the auditorium watching as students whose parents worked in or around the World Trade Center were called by the office to go home. I got picked up early by a family friend and had a long restless night as my father was stuck in the city with no way to get home. There is a bridge in our town that used to look right over the water to the Twin Towers. The day they went down, the entire town was covered in ash and all you could see across the water was a big cloud of black smoke. That bridge quickly became a landmark and was renamed after Andrew Stergiopoulos, a firefighter we lost in the attacks. For the past decade, the Synagogue I belonged to growing up has said their morning prayers every September 11th on the bridge, not only for those we lost as a town- but for everyone who we lost as a country that morning.” Sandy Irani, Rock the Vote Volunteer

    “On 9/11 I had just started my first ever tour and was staying in Chicago. I was meant to play the 98th floor of a financial building for radio winners that morning. I was woken up by my tour manager banging on my door and my family calling incessantly. They were afraid I was possibly in NYC. We got on our bus and got out of the city just in case Chicago was the next target. The scary thing was, exactly one week prior, I had been on AA Flight #11 from LA to Boston. It still makes my stomach churn when I think about it.” Michelle Branch, Rock the Vote Supporter

    “On September 11th, 2001, I was 17 years old and living in Minneapolis. I was scheduled to be flying to New York City later that week one last time before I would move there later in the month to start my first job ever at Sony/Loud Records working for Steve Rifkind. I distinctly remember waking up that morning as my two-way pager (the then it device in the music business) started blowing up out of nowhere at around 8 am (central time). Upon opening and seeing weird messages about planes and buildings, I immediately turned on the TV just in time to watch flight 175 plow into the second WTC tower on CNN Live. Like the rest of the world, I was glued to the TV in shock. I remember having to take a break from the action and went for a long run around the city. It was amazing how quickly the overall feel of the world and my perception of life had changed drastically from what it was just a few hours before. Because of 9/11, my company decided to move me to Los Angeles instead of New York as my boss wanted to spend more time on the West Coast with his family, drastically changing my life and plans forever as I knew it.” DJ Skee, Rock the Vote Supporter

    We hadn’t started touring full time yet. I was going to college and my mom woke me up with a frantic call from my girlfriend at the time. She said “The twin towers are gone!”In my sleepy state I honestly thought David Copperfield, David Blaine, or any of the other magical David’s had pulled some massive trick on the world. When I finally gathered my thoughts, I was terrified. My sister was living on 29th street in Manhattan, and my father was away on business, set to fly home the next day. Fortunately they were both OK and I personally didn’t know anyone that was killed or injured. I thank God for the brave men and women of the FDNY and NYPD who saved so many lives that day.” Shaun Cooper, Taking Back Sunday  & Rock the Vote Supporter

    “The morning of 9/11, I woke up to my grandmother screaming at the top her lungs saying “OH MY GOD” over and over. I got out of the bed and looked at the TV and saw what looked like a movie. I was just waking up so I was a bit confused as to what was going on. I went to school that day, and in History class we watched the news for the entire period. I couldn’t believe that what I was watching wasn’t a movie or TV show. Being so young at the time I really didn’t know exactly how or what to feel about the situation, but one thing’s for sure-I felt terrible for each and every family effected by that tragic day.” Smoove, Cali Swag District & Rock the Vote Supporter

    “I was in 6th grade and was in class when my teacher announced the attacks. I was surprised and I didn’t know what had happened and how it was going to affect me. Being that my dad worked for the board of trade in Chicago, I wanted to make sure that he was safe and that Chicago wasn’t a target either. As a class we held prayer for the victims, families involved, and for our safety.” – Rockie Fresh, Chicago-born rapper/artist & Rock the Vote Supporter

    “I remember it like it was yesterday, I was walking down the street near my school when a random girl came up to me and asked, “Did you hear what happened?”.  I still hadn’t caught wind, so when she told me that “a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center,” it was hard to believe.  I quickly rushed home to see it all unfold on TV. It was a sunny September day but it felt so dark.  Especially being from New York, to know so many people affected by the tragedy, it was a strange time, but through it all it certainly helped bring people together through the adversity.” – Outasight, New York-born Warner Bros Recording Artist & Rock the Vote Supporter.

    Heather Smith
    Bio: Heather is President of Rock the Vote.
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com