Dear Orlando

Dear Orlando,

Today the world mourns with you after significant tragedy and loss. There is this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, a tightness in my chest and a heaviness in my heart.  Innocent lives were taken in a senseless act of hatred and violence within your city limits. Hearts that once beat with excitement and love are now silent at Pulse. This was not “just another gay bar”, Pulse, signified heartbeat. It is known as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community.  Inspired by the owner’s late brother who lost his battle with Aids; Pulse strived to promote awareness and support of a community that is often times quickly judged or discriminated against. This was a place where people came to celebrate, to laugh, and to be exactly as they are. This was a safe place. An escape from the cruelty of the world.

Orlando, I know you did not see it coming, you never thought a loss of this magnitude was possible.  One man took those feelings of false securities for granted as his plot of vengeance and hatred violated that safe place. The initial gunshots were mistaken for fireworks, music, a DJ mix…. because why…how… did these sounds make sense in a safe place? The same young hearts that lead life to it’s fullest on the dance floor were now fighting for their survival. Hearts that were discovering love, following their passions, making a difference in the world were now destroyed. Destroyed by hate. Destroyed by ignorance. Destroyed by one man’s mental illness. Destroyed by fear.

I do not know how to make sense of this, Orlando. My own heart mourns for every single person of the 49 who were lost. My fierce social work soul is sad and I am confused that this could happen not once, not twice but time after time in our beautiful Country, on our beautiful soil in the heart of Florida…the Sunshine State. But through my confusion, my anger, my sadness.. I see hope in your actions.  Courage in your people and feel the support and love in the silence.

Orlando, I see you picking up the pieces and moving forward. I see the faces of the courageous heroes & officers whose actions saved lives. I see you supporting the victim’s families. I see you giving blood to help your neighbor.  In the midst of this horrific & tragic event, I see you responding with love and declaring

We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater.

We will be defined by how we respond, how we treat each other.

( Source: Mayor Dyer Blog )

 Orlando, you are a true leader and may the other states of America follow your example of pride and perseverance to become #united once again. We are not a nation that can be terrorized when we join together.   We become stronger because of our differences not in spite of them.  You are restoring my faith in the good in humanity, that love will conquer all and drive out the darkness.  Your response speaks to every nation, every community, every religion, every ethnicity, every heart because in the end… how we loved is all that really matters.

You have our condolsences. Our thoughts. Our prayers and our support.



a resilient social work warrior

#unitedstatesofamerica #orlandounited #lovenothate #prayersfororlando #mayordyer #citybeautiful #endgunviolence #treatmentalhealth #becauseoforlando #theinvisiblewarrior #socialworkervoice #loveislove

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