People have done many amazing things to pay tribute to the victims of 9/11. One group of immigrants has kept the memory of their friends alive with a restaurant called Colors. They say it is a tribute to the 73 friends and colleagues who worked in the Windows on the World restaurant and who lost their lives on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower that day.
Colors opened five years ago on Lafayette Street, and it has struggled to stay afloat as a restaurant — it is booming, however, as a training kitchen for culinary students. Three nights a week, young cooks from Kingsborough Community College and other locations prepare and serve lunch.
Four nights a week, the 12 restaurant employees serve global foods that are inspired by their native lands. It’s not easy maintaining the place, however, as Sekou Siby reports. As he said, “For me it is still inspiring, but running the business isn’t something easy.”
The Mission Continues
Sekou Siby comes from the Ivory Coast and is one of the three original Windows workers who is still involved in the Colors project. He hasn’t been able to get himself back into the kitchen since 9/11. As he said about that fateful day, “The pain is still there. The people we miss, we’re still missing them.”
Siby, with Windows server Fekkak Mamdouh, founded a nonprofit called Restaurant Opportunities Center after 9/11. Their nonprofit has expanded over the years. They have opened training centers and Colors outposts in five other cities and they work for fair working conditions and fair wages.
They opened Colors in 2006. As Mamdouh explained their purpose, “Before, there was no place for restaurant workers to go. We’ve created that place where people can go, and talk, and fight for their rights.”
Raising Money for a Good Cause
On September 8th, the Restaurant Opportunities Center hopes to raise money for its cause with its annual benefit being held at Colors. They will remember their friends from Windows on the World and raise money to continue their efforts. While it is isn’t easy, they see great purpose in their project and they hope to be able to make it through the financially difficult times that have hit them, and so many others.