12 Ways to take action in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by Elizabeth Boylan

12 Ways to take action in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando

Sunday morning’s hate crime against the LGBTQ Latinx community has left many people, especially folks in the Queer community, feeling a range of intense emotions.  We at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law believe that feeling those emotions is important, and channeling emotion into passionate action is a positive way to enact change in our world.

We offer here 12 ways that individuals can take action, and turn emotion into mobilization.

1) If you have money, consider donating to support the victims of the attack at Pulse Nightclub, here:  https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

2) If you have money, consider donating to LGBTQ Organizations, specifically those that work with Latinx communities.  Four that we love are:  The Translatin@ Coalition: http://www.translatinacoalition.org/  Latino GLBT History Project: http://www.latinoglbthistory.org/, Unity Coalition: http://www.unitycoalition.org/Workshops.html, and the Latino Commission on AIDS: https://latinoaids.org/.

3) If you do not have money, consider volunteering with one of the organizations noted above, or an organization based in your community that is devoted to supporting the LGBTQ community, and fighting hate and injustice against the LGBTQ community.  Six that are based in New York are The LGBT Center: https://gaycenter.org/, The Audre Lorde Project: http://alp.org/, The Ali Forney Center:http://www.aliforneycenter.org/, GMHC: http://www.gmhc.org/, The Brooklyn Community Pride Center: http://lgbtbrooklyn.org/, and The Sylvia Rivera Law Project: http://srlp.org/.

4) Fight the discrimination that shames sexually active MSM “Men who have sex with men” and prohibits them from donating blood.  This discrimination is rooted in homophobia and serophobia and is an injustice to all people.  A petition arguing that all MSM to be able to donate blood may be found here: https://www.credomobilize.com/petitions/tell-the-fda-end-the-ban-on-blood-donations-from-gay-men

5) If you are able to donate blood and feel comfortable doing so, please consider donating.  Donation locations in New York may be found here through the New York Blood Center: http://nybloodcenter.org/donate-blood/where-to-donate-today/, to find donation locations outside of New York, please check in with the American Red Cross website: http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/tips-successful-donation

6) If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, attend a vigil in your community.  Many LGBTQ Centers have organized vigils to enable community members to come together and honor the dead, and to organize and plan for ending future violence against the LGBTQ Community.  In New York, vigils were held at the LGBT Community Center, and at the Stonewall Inn, and people have begun using the public space outside of these locations to honor those whose lives were lost: http://www.thestonewallinnnyc.com/StonewallInnNYC/Welcome.html.  Tonight, June 14th, there will be one at Grand Army Plaza, in Brooklyn: https://www.facebook.com/events/568689859977577/.

7) If you do not feel safe going to a larger vigil, as there is sometimes an increased police presence in these places and many marginalized communities are disproportionately scrutinized by police, consider going to an alternative vigil.   Some small organizations are putting together smaller vigils, and through community forums (Queer Exchange on Facebook, Listservs, et cetera) many individuals are using these online spaces to develop dialogue around mourning and creating safe spaces for expressing grief.

8) Check out the National Coalition of AntiViolence Programs: http://www.avp.org/about-avp/coalitions-a-collaborations/82-national-coalition-of-anti-violence-programs, and the New York City AntiViolence Project: http://www.avp.org/, and get involved.  The NCAVP and the AVP are committed to ending violence, and specifically focus on ending violence against minority communities and communities more prone to violence as a result of systemic injustice.

9) While the primary issue at the heart of the Orlando massacre is homophobia, it also represents the single largest shooting in American History. We recognize that changes in gun control legislation could reduce the impact of gun violence in the United States.  We encourage you to visit the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and learn through them how you may get involved, if you choose to, in creating change in gun legislation and law: http://smartgunlaws.org/.

10) Do not counter hate with further hate.  Following Sunday morning’s massacre, we have seen a great deal of violence and anger against the Muslim community, due to Islamophobia, and misunderstanding about the ways in which some individuals use religion to justify violence against others.  Fight Islamophobia, and acknowledge and correct people when they blame this event on faith, or use incorrect, harmful and hateful terms like “Radical Islam.”  Support the Islamic community, and learn more by visiting the Council on American Islamic Relations, here: http://www.islamophobia.org/.

11) Reach out to friends in the LGBTQ community and offer support.  Discuss what happened, and how you feel about it.  Discuss things that you want to see happen, and begin making plans to enact change.

12) Practice self-care.  Grief is an important means of processing tragedy, and it is important to allow yourself to process any emotions that you are feeling about the tragedy in Orlando.  Learn about the grieving process at helpguide.org: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief-loss/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm.  In the words of a wise friend, “Healing is not a linear process.”  Take time, take care, and stay safe.


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