Remember growing up and being asked questions like, “If you had one wish, what would you wish for?”
When I think back to my childhood, one of the most common answers I gave (aside from super powers) was world peace.
The beautiful thing about being young is that it’s not so difficult to imagine a world where people get along.
John Lennon said it best: “Imagine all the people living life in peace.”
It’s disheartening to think that with all of our advancements in technology, and medicine, and psychology, it’s now as difficult as ever to imagine a peaceful world.
According to an article on CNN, there have been 7 terrorist attacks on US soil from 1995-2015. That means that in my short, 21 (almost) years of being alive, a total of 3,209 people were killed on US soil with the intent to inflict terror on the rest of the population.
Now add to that the 1,107 that were injured.
Add to that the countless people who wake up in the morning missing one of their parents, a husband or wife, a sister, or brother, or friend, or student, or familiar face to smile at on the street
Now, add 50 more people who lost their lives in the Orlando Night Club Shooting on June 12th, 2016. Another 53 injuries. Hundreds of more broken hearts and damaged spirits. More untimely funerals.
With so much loss and heartache it’s easy to think the world is terrible place.
But it’s not.
5 Ways People Came Together After the Orlando Night Club Shooting
1. Social Media
Social Media dominates our realm of communication, and though the circumstances are grave, it is great to see people using social media as an outlet for support during such a critical time. The hashtag #PrayForOrlando has been circulating the web at an incredible pace, with over a million people participating in the trend. It’s an important reminder that we’re all connected, while encouraging people to take a moment to think and reflect on the tragedy. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts, and being thoughtful is definitely a step towards being peaceful.
There have been all kinds of tributes and testimonials to Orlando, from celebrities to civilians alike. I’ve seen people come together doing everything from creating artwork and writing poetry, to tattooing phrases like, “Orlando One Pulse” in rainbow lettering on their bodies. Powerful speeches have been given by a multitude of people, my favorite being Jimmy Fallon‘s with his beautiful line, “We need to go back to being brave enough to accept the fact that people have different opinions, and thats okay.“ There are amazing makeup artists who have dedicated their videos to the Orlando victims by incorporating rainbows and pulse themes into their looks- I loved NikkieTutorials PRIDE rainbow eyes. In times of mourning it is comforting to see people uniting and expressing themselves in positive ways.
A group called Equality Florida has started a GoFundMe campaign that has received donations from a record breaking 100,000+ people. People from all over the world have come together to donate to the victims of the Orlando tragedy, who will use the funds to cover funeral and hospital expenses. The overwhelming contribution has resulted in nearly $5.7 million in donations in as little as 8 days, proving that we are strong enough to overcome anything when we come together.
If you would like to contribute to the GoFundMe page, please click here.
4. Support Groups
Tragedy is no stranger to the world. This isn’t the first mass shooting and it is likely not the last. There are, however, people coming together who have had loved ones who were murdered, traveling to Orlando to let newly grieving families know that “it will be okay”. The Orlando Sentinel released an article about survivors who have banded together to talk about their own experiences and ways to handle the overwhelming grief. If nothing else, it is good to have people close by who truly understand.
On Monday, June 13th 2016, thousands of people gathered in Orlando to honor those who were killed and wounded in the shooting. It wasn’t just Orlando that held memorials though, all over the country- and even globally people came together to mourn. Our flags were lowered to half mast, the Eiffel Tower boasted rainbow lights, people lit candles on the streets of Sydney, Thailand flew rainbow flags, Indian students created artwork, Berlin displayed white roses, South Korea held a vigil as well as Chile, Rome’s Colosseum was filled with candles, and all around the world people sent their love to the innocent people who were murdered.
In the words of John Lennon:”You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”
When tragedy strikes it is important to remember that there is good in the world, even on its darkest days. This tragedy is the result of one bad guy, but there are millions of good people out there, and hopefully one day we can live in peace.
We need to come together today and every day. We are all people, and we all hurt, and we all love.