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A Flag at Half-Staff

Orlando

Thirty-six hours after the unspeakable slaughter of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters in Orlando, the full horror of what happened can barely even begin to sink in. Our hearts are full of grief and of love for the victims, their loved ones, their friends and families, and the entire Orlando community.
 
From 3,000 miles away, it’s impossible for most of us to comprehend fully the pain, anguish, and suffering that’s happening there yesterday and today – and that will continue to be there in the days and months and years to come. But we all can feel a sense of monstrous violation. Any of us who’s ever been in a club or bar or pride celebration or community event or even a popular brunch spot – in other words, every one of us – knows deep inside the supreme importance of safety in a world that does not always love us. We are reminded that that sense of safety, built for many of us only haltingly and too often incompletely, is fragile and can be taken away at any moment.
 
My heart is full of something else, too: anger. Anger at those who’ve made this country the most gun-besotted place on the planet (outside of active war zones). Anger at those who see this horror and quietly approve – not to mention those who say so aloud. Anger at every bully and every bigot who’s ever stoked hatred of our community. Anger at all who’ve ever perverted religion to fuel animosity rather than love.
 
But more than anything now is a time for us to come together, to mourn, to remember, to hold one another close. It is a time to remember how precious our community – and every one of its members – is. We know that the Orlando killer isn’t the only one out there filled with hate. We also know that our community has always – always – come together and proven itself stronger than anything, however heinous, targeted at us.
 
We can all also help those in Orlando, even from afar. There are two places you can give to help in the response. One, sponsored by Equality Florida, is here: https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund. A second route is through Horizons’ sister foundation in South Florida, Our Fund, a 501(c)(3) which has set up an Orlando fund: https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/OurFund/Orlando.html.