“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’
To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.”
Fred Rogers (yes, Mr. Rogers)
The events that transpired In Orlando early Sunday morning were horrific. I can only imagine the suffering of the survivors, the grief of family members, and how shaken the community as a whole must be. Even on the opposite coast, the ripple of pain this incident has caused is affecting us all.
As we humans are known to do, we have jumped to blame, and pointing fingers — and this is by all means a logical and fair reaction. 49 people were taken before their time because of one man’s hate. We can find multiple flaws in various systems that contributed to this tragic event. Things such as terrorism, a lack of gun control laws, a poor mental health screening system, and homophobia all hold some responsibility in this event taking place. I myself have many words to say about the incompetence some people have exhibited that led us to where we are now.
Regardless of your beliefs, however, one thing is true: this was an act propelled by hate. In retaliation, we should not raise weapons and words of hostility. Instead, we need to fight hate with the only thing able to overcome it completely; love. Love for those who were untimely taken from us. Love for those impacted directly or indirectly by the deaths. Love for all living creatures, and a belief that nothing and no one should be subjected to this kind of heinous crime.
It is about time all of the hopeful and positive people in this world come together. We need to change and silence the voices of hatred and allow compassion to be a driving force in society. Nothing will ever make the events that transpired in Orlando okay, but if there is one thing we take away from it, I hope it is a wake up call. A recognition of just how far we have strayed from loving, understanding, and compassion. How desperately we are in need of change. Let this motivate us to make that change happen! Let it light a fire in us to speak up; politically and socially.
Learn as much as you can if you want to make a difference. An ability to have educated discussions about topics that matter is seriously lacking in today’s society. Don’t just regurgitate information, learn what you need to in order to make smart decisions for yourself.
Make the revolutions you want to see politically happened a reality. Do not sit on the sidelines and expect others to make a difference for you. Make your beliefs heard, and be intelligent about the choices you make.
Join others around you to give your voices power. Sign petitions, join meet-up groups, and learn how you can participate in the things you are passionate about impacting.
Do not turn a blind eye to injustices. Show compassion and love to those around you. Speak up about unfair treatment of people, regardless of their beliefs and practices. Open up space to talk about mental illness, and get those suffering the help they need. Learn to care about what happens to others on a global level, and allow that to inspire you to take action.
It is a time of suffering, but an opportunity for growth.
Do not let this go to waste.