Every September 11, I remember this surprising story about Steve Buscemi.
Image via the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page.

Steve Buscemi, the veteran actor with the one-in-a-million face, known for his depictions of weirdos and gangsters, inspires a lot of creative description: The Guardian referred to him as a “strangely attractive shoelace” and one critic recalled Buscemi as “pale, almost pallid—as if he’d been reared in a mushroom cellar.”

The Independent once suggested an “unvarnished ordinariness” was the heart of Buscemi’s appeal. He has been said to look like Don Knotts, John Waters, and Angelina Jolie.

Less frequently noted, though, than the Boardwalk Empire star’s fascinatingly famous features are the details of his life before acting, when he worked as an FDNY firefighter in downtown Manhattan. That’s right, Mr. Pink used to pull people out of burning buildings for a living.


And in September 2013, a post on the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page informed the world that the actor regrouped with his old engine company in the days after 9/11, lending a hand when it was needed the most. Beneath a picture of Buscemi, it read:

Do you recognize this man? Do you know his name?Lots of people know he's an actor, and that his name is Steve Buscemi.What very few people realize is that he was once one of New York's Bravest.In 1976 Steve Buscemi took the FDNY civil service test when he was just 18 years old. In 1980 Steve Buscemi became a New York City Firefighter.For four years, Buscemi served on one of FDNY's busiest, Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan's Little Italy. He later left the fire service to become a successful actor, writer and director.After 9/11/2001... Brother Buscemi returned to FDNY Engine 55.On September 12, 2001 and for several days following Brother Steve worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters digging and sifting through the rubble from the World Trade Center looking for survivors.Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn't there for the publicity.In 2003 he also gave a speech at a union rally supporting higher wages for firefighters and to stop fire houses from closing. He got arrested along with other firefighters.Also not very well known is that in 2012 Brother Buscemi showed up in Breezy Point, NY and quietly assisted in the clean-up efforts of the damage and mass destruction left by Super Storm Sandy.Once a brother, always a brother!Just so we're clear… this guy is a Badass!!!Tip of the helmet Brother Steve!

In a world of Kardashians and Charlie Sheens, it’s always great to hear inspiring stories like this about successful people in film and television.

And those of us who were in New York the morning the planes hit remember the chaos and fear; every set of capable hands was needed. But even “notable” stories like Buscemi’s contribution after the attack are just the tip of the heroic iceberg, an introduction to the amazing narratives of selflessness and courage that define the experience of our active firefighters and emergency service workers.

That’s why in 2014 Buscemi hosted the HBO documentary A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY, presenting “behind-the-scenes footage and firsthand accounts” of what it’s like to work as a firefighter in New York. According to the film’s official description, it captures, “camaraderie and the bonds formed around firehouse kitchen tables, the cumulative effect of trauma, both physical and mental, and the stories—the good, the bad and the exciting.”

In the September 11 attacks and their aftermath, 343 firefighters from 75 firehouses gave their lives to protect and rescue others and many FDNY personnel are still suffering from illness, injury, and trauma.

“Firefighters are great at helping others,” Buscemi told CBS News last year. “They're great at helping each other. But they're not always—they don't always know that they, themselves, are in need …  Their first reaction would be, ‘Oh, the next guy has it worse, you know?”

Image via Twitter user ClassicNavalAir.

Buscemi, who grew up on Long Island and now resides in Brooklyn, also serves on the Board of Advisors for Friends of Firefighters, an organization that looks out for the welfare of New York City’s firefighters and their families. Beyond fundraising and publicity, though, it seems the personal bonds and sense of responsibility he formed at the Department were strong enough that 20 years after he served he was still willing to throw himself physically into the fray.

“It was a privilege to be able to do it,” Buscemi said at the time of his efforts at ground zero. “It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside. And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn't really think about it as much, feel it as much.”He continued, “It wasn't until I stopped that I really felt the full impact of what had happened. It would have been much harder for me to get through it if I hadn't been able to do that.”

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

via Pixabay

Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

Keep Reading Show less