If you’re like me, you’re still reeling from the events that unfolded yesterday morning. I listened in horror to the news reports of the victims and shed tears of anger and pain. I shared news and support on social media but went to bed frustrated knowing that this wasn’t enough to help those involved in the tragedy. I’m nowhere close to Orlando or the victims of the shooting, but I’m a part of the local LGBTQ community here. Even if you’ve never attended a parade or spoken up for equality for all our citizens, there are things you can do to help this situation that we find ourselves in as fellow Americans. This tragedy affects us all. The victims of the Orlando shooting are our brothers and sisters.
So what can we do to support the victims of the Pulse Orlando nightclub shooting? Here’s a list:
Attend a Local Vigil – A Google search will pull up LGBTQ groups in your community. See if there are ways that you can show up to give your support. I know that in my city, a popular gay nightclub held a vigil yesterday afternoon.
Give Blood – Perhaps the blood you donate won’t go directly to a victim wounded in the shooting, but you know that a person in your community will benefit from your donation. That’s what this is about… helping your fellow human. Spread love instead of hate. Give someone hope. There are federal guidelines regarding blood donation here.
Donate Money – Equality Florida set up a GoFundMe campaign to support the family of victims. You can donate here. Here’s the description from the website:
“Funds raised on this page will be going directly to the victims and families affected by the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Equality Florida is working with local organizations – who are also helping to raise funds – to ensure the money is distributed properly. Thank you for the support!
You can also visit http://www.eqfl.org/news/pulse to get more information on vigils, counseling, and blood drives happening across the state. We’re also posting updates on Equality Florida’s Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/equalityfl ”
My favorite quote is from Fred Rogers, and I think of it every time I hear of tragedy in our community.
There was something else my mother did that I’ve always remembered: “Always look for the helpers,” she’d tell me. “There’s always someone who is trying to help.” I did, and I came to see that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police and firemen, volunteers, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong.
Let’s be helpers.