I woke up with the sound of my mom crying next to me, nudging me to wake up from a nap. “Something horrible has happened”, she said through sobs. As my mom started to explain what happened, I wish I would’ve stayed asleep and had never woken up to hear about the nightmare that had occurred in Pulse a couple of hours before. Words wouldn’t come out of my mouth, just tears streaming down my face as I tried to comprehend what had just happened; my mind started rummaging through people I know that could’ve been at Pulse: my sister that goes out with her gay friends whom she lost two friends that night, my cousin who goes every Sunday but didn’t because he had to be back in Miami and knew most of the victims, my friend who was in Pulse but because of a petty argument with her partner left to go home, a co-worker who lost her son that night. Even though I wasn’t directly affected, it seemed like everyone around me did, making me feel anger, sorrow, despair, sadness Y E T…
only light can do that.
only love can do that.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
And in the midst of darkness, light prevailed. Orlando moved like I had never, probably even people living here their whole lives, had seen. The way Orlandoans chose to be light and not rest in darkness moved not only the city, but the whole world. We cannot let one man’s actions fill us with hate, but respond back stronger than ever with love, unity, and acceptance, and Orlando did just that. Churches opened their doors to those that “live in sin” to demonstrate the grandness of God’s love; beautiful murals have been painted all over Orlando paying their respects and showing their love through art, One Pulse Foundation was created: a 501 ©(3) organization whose purpose is to support construction and maintenance of the memorial, community grants to care for the survivors and victims’ families, endowed scholarships to each of the 49 angels and eventually, turn Pulse into a museum showcasing historic artifacts and stories of the event.
As you can see, the lives lost that night were not in vain and due to the surmountable support of the Orlando community, we are a community slowly, but surely, healing.
Let us never forget the 49 angels now watching over us. Let us not forget the first responders, doctors, nurses and everyone that tried their best and worked day and night to save these lives. Let us not forget the volunteers that helped and still help at LGBTQ centers to help those mourning the loss, confusion, and sorrow of the people affected directly (and indirectly) by this tragedy.
Over all, let us never forget how Orlando united to become a place of love, acceptance, inclusion, and most importantly, hope that there will be a better tomorrow.
Stay Colorful 🌈✨