Jillian Hanesworth worked close by on the day of those tragic events and since has become an advocate of and resource for the many affected families to share and find voice. Her poem “Water” was installed as part of an in-store memorial to the victims after the location reopened to the public. That poem begins with the invocation to “Let the hopeful healing waters flow,” calling on all of us in the community to recognize that “even our small marks / on this huge world are necessary.”
Haneswoth’s remarkable talent is grounded in her ability to listen, to validate, to transform the immense emotional scale of our tragedy into words. In her role as a leader in the community, she has been asked to be a liaison for her fellow artists in this exhibition; to introduce them to the families in order to create space for her creative partners—and as a result for our whole community—to listen deeply. In her capacity as a poet, she has been asked to continue her journey as a trusted source, as an empathetic and authoritative voice to create original poetry for the exhibition.