For the 20th anniversary of 9/11 comes an awe-inspiring account of the schoolchildren poisoned by the toxic air left in the wake of the Twin Towers’ destruction and the survivor who fought for health care for them in front of Congress and against the odds.
On September 11, 2001, high school senior Lila Nordstrom watched from her classroom’s window as the Twin Towers, mere blocks away, fell. Weeks later, at the urging of local officials and assurance from the EPA, Lila and her three thousand classmates were returned to their school—even though the air was thick with toxic debris, dust, and smoke.
In this remarkable, empowering memoir, Lila shares how the illnesses and deaths of her classmates related to the effects of the 9/11 cleanup spurred her into action. She created StuyHealth and became involved in the fight for the Victim Compensation Fund, working alongside first responders and heavyweights like Jon Stewart, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi, proving at every turn that her survivor community also deserves recognition and mental and physical health care and that her voice too deserves to be heard.
This timely tale reveals how tragedy lays bare the American health care system and how corruption and misinformation continue to fail victims of tragedies. An honest, at times humorous guide to advocating for one’s self and one’s community and navigating the cutthroat world of legislation and health care, Lila's story begs us to consider how we as a nation treat our vulnerable communities and how all victims of all disasters deserve care, truth, and respect. Also included is a section on the meaning of advocacy work, what it means to be an active citizen, and how to support a cause you believe in.