Over the past few days, I've been reeling over the tragedy in Orlando, mourning with the rest of the world. Though I am a writer, I have been at a loss for words. The horrific act of killing 49 and wounding 53 more, while specifically targeting the LGBT and Latino community during Pride Month, is unfathomable and downright diabolical. With all the tragedies we've been #prayingfor lately, I was hesitant to share something on social media that wouldn't lead to some kind of solution, because I know how easy it is to feel helpless during a tragedy like this. So instead, I wanted to offer ways for us to collectively help and heal Orlando.
1. Honor the memories of the victims by reading about their stories and lives.
They are not statistics, they are people who lived full, cherished lives. They are people who look like our friends and our families. Honoring their memory reminds us that these crimes are more than news stories, soundbites, and statistics, but rather, real, human lives. We may not immediately connect to a large social issue or policy language, but we do connect to human stories. May their memories remind us to work harder to create a world where love is love, and a lifestyle in which our daily decisions match our values for equality.
2. Register to vote and sign a petition.
Who we decide to put into office dictates the laws and policies that we all have to live with. Exercise your right to have a say in how decisions are made. During this Presidential election, think about the kind of leadership this country needs to create a more just and equal society. Participate. Throw your voice in. Another way to do so is to sign petitions. This one about banning assault weapons is almost at its goal. Help them reach it.
3. Donate to the victims and their families.
Equality Florida, a local LGBT civil rights group, set up a GoFundMe account that is almost at its goal of fundraising $5 million dollars for all the victims and their families. Consider donating as little as $5 to help.
4. STAY PROUD.
It is still Pride month. As allies, we must use our voice and our daily actions as an example. It is imperative that we stand with the LGBT community. To show them that we are here to support them, that we will fight this battle with them, that they are safe with us. We must champion their right to love as much as we champion our own. If there is an LGBT event in your city, go. Find out here to locate one near you.
There is no consolation for the tragedy in Orlando. But starting right here and now, we must actively choose to be part of the solution.
In Love and PRIDE,