It is not uncommon for feelings of vulnerability, anger and despair to linger after a visible tragedy like this one. Be aware of your LGBTQ+ colleagues, friends, and students who may continue to feel its impact uniquely in months to come. Our Latinx and Muslim community members, especially those who are also LGBTQ+, may need support too.
If you need a place to find community support, please come by the Diversity and Equity Center.
We will have tea and space for conversation and support if you need it.
And as always, our counseling staff is nearby and available to serve anyone who needs them.
Students and staff created a memorial to the victims which is currently hanging in the library. It consists of forty-nine origami cranes, one for each of the deceased. Origami cranes carry messages of peace, hope and healing--it is our hope that this memorial will bring you a measure of comfort.
If you are looking for ways to assist the victims of the shooting, here are some ideas:
Equality Florida: https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund
Orlando Health Foundation: http://www.orlandohealthfoundation.com/about-us
Planting Peace: https://www.crowdrise.com/we-stand-with-pulse-fund/fundraiser/Planting-Peace
Blood is always needed locally. Orlando blood banks are currently overwhelmed. Commit to donating blood in our community in weeks to come if you are able in order to replenish supplies. (A cruel irony is that gay men are still restricted from donating blood, so many Orlando residents members are prevented from supporting their own community in this way.)
MOST IMPORTANT: Do everything you can to abolish homophobia, Islamophobia, racism and other forms of oppression in your sphere of influence. Violence thrives on ignorance and fear. Commit to being part of a community that educates itself and others so that hatred cannot take root.
If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and/or Latinx and/or Muslim: Take care of yourself. Access your community resources. Seek out your sources of support and remind yourself you are worthy of asking for what you need. Know that we see you, we value you and we love you. Come to the DEC if you need help getting connected to a supportive community.
Here are some ideas on how to start.
If you are heterosexual and cisgender:
1. Educate yourself. Examine the privileges you hold as a heterosexual and cisgender person. Commit to creating more justice and equity for people who do not hold these privileges.
2. Commit to learning at least what the letters LGBTQ stand for and mean (without making LGBTQ people your dictionary). Find out at least about the basic issues impacting the LGBTQ community. Much information about these communities is very accessible on the internet or in the DEC.
3. Support our local LGBTQ organizations monetarily. Many are serving critical functions in the community for people who have been separated from their families or otherwise denied access to resources because of the impacts of homophobia. These organizations tend to be small non-profits run by hard-working, dedicated and underpaid professionals. Support their efforts by donating to these community partners
4. Support SPSCC’s scholarship fund for LGBTQ students and/or Queer I Am, SPSCC’s annual leadership summit that provides critical support and community to our LGBTQ students.
5. Commit to the long-term: This moment has raised awareness of homophobia, racism and Islamophobia—commit to combating these forms of oppression in the long-term as well as this week. Hate crimes impact not only immediate victims and their families, but also communities who share identities with the victims—in others words, our local LGBTQ and Latinx community members—as well as member of other marginalized communities—are sharing some degree of trauma from this event. Commit to remembering that homophobia and racism began long ago and will not end as media attention from this tragedy subsides. We need your passion, awareness, and action for greater justice for many years to come.
6. Read this beautiful poem, and consider how we might all live out its promise:
An Ally's Promise
By Anthony D'Angelo
I believe success is the freedom to be yourself.
I believe nobody is wrong; they are only different.
I believe your circumstances don't define you, rather they reveal you.
I believe without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.
I believe our minds are like parachutes; they only work if they are open.
I believe we only live once, but if we live it right, one time is all well need.
I believe we must first get along with ourselves before we can get along with others.
I will seek to understand you.
I will label bottles not people.
I will grow antennas not horns.
I will see the diversity of our commonality.
I will see the commonality of our diversity.
I will get to know who you are rather than what you are.
I will transcend political correctness and strive for human righteousness.
I Challenge You
I challenge you to honor who you are.
I challenge you to enjoy your life rather than endure it.
I challenge you to create the status quo rather than merely accept it.
I challenge you to live in your imagination more than your memory.
I challenge you to live your life as a revolution and not just a process of evolution.
I challenge you to ignore other peoples ignorance so that you may discover your own wisdom.
I Promise You
I promise to do my part.
I promise to stand beside you.
I promise to interrupt the world when its thinking becomes ignorant.
I promise to believe in you, even when you have lost faith in yourself.
I Am Here For You.