The pain of the parents, the friends, family and loved ones of the victims of the Orlando mass murders has spilled into our hearts today. Lines of hate malice and egotistical bigotry have been drawn in violent shades of red. Many of us feel more heartache and sorrow for those who will bury their children and friends than they will ever know because we are one of them. It could have been any of us. Innocent lives were lost in a “safe” place.
And damn, it suddenly feels very unsafe to live in an era where a presidential candidate chooses to deflect “congratulations” to renounce Muslim radicals. It feels unclean to talk about division of race and religion when lives were senselessly lost. Politics don’t belong here. God isn’t impressed with your prejudice or your foolish morals. Those who choose hate over love have lost their way and have allowed an environment in which innocent lives are gunned down. Gunned down. Nowhere to run or hide. Where is your compassion? Where is the sensibility that follows the letter and spirit of a nation that prides itself on being “indivisible with liberty and justice for all”?
No matter what the unconfirmed reports says… this is a hate crime. A mass hate crime. My son is gay. He could have been there. I could have been there as an ally or a friend. I’m literally sick with worry because I’m no different from any parent out there, regardless of ethnicity, religion or socio-economic state. I’m a mother whose heart breaks for the mothers who received a call this morning to let them know their child is gone. Their grief is unfathomable. It’s a well of sorrow so deep and agonizing, it crushes the soul.
But not the spirit. We won’t let it. We cannot live in fear. We cannot let haters win.
The lives lost in the Orlando shooting must be celebrated. Their presence at Pulse was their speech. Their right to enjoy themselves in the company of those who feel the same and love the same. And with those who wholeheartedly support them. They were celebrating their right to pride, in a month celebrating LGBT pride. Their voices must be heard. Hatred cannot win. It is a wrong turn down a dark alley where no one comes out unscathed. Only love wins.
Now more than ever, raise your voice. Speak for those who no longer can. Show pride, show friendship, support and above all, show love.