I drafted a post early Sunday morning - before connecting with the news - as part of my efforts to get back in touch with writing proper entries in my blog. In light of the horrifying massacre in Orlando this weekend, it just seems trivial to share it today.
Instead I want to provide a list of organizations to which you can donate and things you can do to take action in response to this hate crime, this terrorist act, this worst mass shooting in our history, this attack on an LGBTQ sanctuary, this attempt to decimate freedom and love.
I'm sure a thorough Google search of one's own could turn these up, but it feels like the right thing to do today - to help throw more positive, actionable resources out there. It should go without saying that my heart, my thoughts, my prayers, my tears are with the victims and their loved ones. It should go without saying because we say it way too often, and the people who say it the most frequently are the ones who have the power to actually do something.
So without further ado:
Pulse Victims Fund for Equality Florida
Pulse Tragedy Community Fund
"We Stand with Pulse" Victim's Fund
Donation Page for the Orlando Regional Medical Center
Donation Page for the Florida Disaster Fund via VolunteerFlorida
Guide to contacting your representatives about gun control
Sign the petition to lift the ban on blood donation from gay and bisexual citizens
Finally, just turn to your loved ones and let this be a reminder to never ever take them for granted. Tell them you love them. Give your love and support for the beautiful gay community of this nation and the world. On this Pride Month, declare yourself a straight ally to them. Show love, kindness, and solidarity to the Muslim members of your community, and don't give in to the hysterical right's attempts to simplify this issue by calling it an issue with Islam as a religion. There are over 1 billion Muslims worldwide. If they were all evil and out to get us, do you really think we'd still be here?
Have civil and reasoned conversations with family and friends and colleagues who don't hold the same views about all of the various factors that contributed to this horrible crime. Don't just blindly unfollow that acquaintance on Facebook who supports the un-American ban on Muslims - engage them in respectful debate about it. You never know - you may begin to change someone's mind and open their heart. Or if it's too much of a source of pain and stress - step away from Facebook (my own advice is the hardest to take) and keep engaging with the people in your life that you love and remind them every day that you love them.
In short, just love. Love and love and love and love and love some more.