resilience can be defined as the ability of communities to withstand ruptures
and to pull through, often with greater strength. Community resilience
following a traumatic event usually encompasses the following four themes(1):
Building community and enhancing social connectedness as a foundation
for recovery. Community recovery begins with the reweaving of social
connections that have been disrupted by traumatic events.... This includes
strengthening the system of social support, coalition building, and
information and resource sharing.(2)
Collectively telling the story of the community’s experience
and response. An important part of the communal healing process is about
having one’s story validated and a part of the collective story
that emerges after a complex and horrible tragedy.
Re-establishing the rhythms and routines of life and engaging in
collective healing rituals. The spontaneous neighborhood vigils, anniversary
rituals, and community events marking seasonal changes and holidays
become important times for communities to reconnect....(3)
Arriving at a positive vision of the future with renewed hope....
Many of the collective responses to 9/11 were attempts to reestablish
hope in the future. One of the most important questions faced by communities
after a catastrophe is, “how do we move from haunting memories
of the tragedy to a vision of the future that incorporates the new realities
that we are facing?”
(1) Jack Saul, Promoting Community Recovery in Downtown Manhattan, American
Family Therapy Academy Annual Conference, June 2002.
(2) Judith Landau, Terror and Trauma: Enhancing Family and Community Connectedness
to Access Resilience for Dealing with Trauma, American Family Therapy
Academy Annual Conference, June, 2002.
(3) Mindy Fullilove, Summary of Conference, Together We Heal: Community
Mobilization for Trauma Recovery, April, 2002.