Shock and disbelief learning that fifty persons had been murdered while celebrating and dancing during the early morning hours of June 12, 2016. Another act of gun violence with an assault weapon occurred at a nightclub in a similar vein to prior incidents at a local school, a movie theatre, a house of worship, a college campus, or a workplace. This incident took place at a place where LGBT inclusiveness is honored and celebrated. So what is next for us here in Fort Lauderdale?
Many persons surrounded themselves with loved ones to mourn. Sun Serve offered free bereavement counseling. The Pride Center organized a memorial service attended by more than 1000 local residents. Patrons packed the local LGBT bars and restaurants to demonstrate solidarity. The Tony Awards paid their respect and offered a showcase of performances dedicated to those whose lives have been lost.
What many people have chosen to do is to keep living and loving. Rather than isolate, people are expressing their grief, whether it is based in shock, anger, sadness, worry or a combination of all of those feelings. People are hugging each other, letting family and friends know they are loved.
Again, my heartfelt recommendation to clients, colleagues, and friends is to keep living and loving. Let those who love you know how you feel. Pray for the people of Orlando. Be compassionate and listen to those who are overwhelmed. Refer to the local resources providing assistance. Collaborate with local law enforcement if you suspect someone is in danger. Lend your support to an organization opposed to gun violence.
Our LGBT community has been growing with millions of allies. We continue to have the right to marry. Speak your truth about the importance of living in a country where we value the lives of all colors, genders, orientations, creeds and beliefs. Be safe, be genuine, and be loved.