From Dallas to Orlando 🌈

From Dallas to Orlando 🌈

This is one of the most important blogs I have written to date. I first thank you for taking an interest to read and secondly commend you on your curiosity to form a thoughtful opinion on the important issues of our society. It is together that we will create the powerful discussions that lead to a transformed heart and mind, where hate may have once lived let there be love. 

CLOSE TO 30 ATTACKS ON GAY MEN IN DALLAS IN THE PAST EIGHT MONTH. LEFT FOR DEAD. SURVIVORS. WITH NO ARRESTS MADE. 

I need to start the conversation here. I am NOT ok with this. I am not ok with this in my city, or my  world. I am not ok with the people who are terrorizing our neighbors roaming freely around the streets. This is horrid, and unacceptable, but moreover this is maddening. However, anger is not a constructive response. Anger leads to fights, wars, and yes even mass murders. I get it people. You feel enraged. You feel helpless. You feel lost. Stunned, we ramble through our minds. Where do we begin? How did we even get here? Will it ever stop? What can I do? 

You show up. For those who've followed me for a while you know I say it all the time. It's the starting point to greatness. But what does showing up do? It shows others you care. That you are an outlet for support. In this case, it more boldly means, that you want the nonsense to end too. It shows that we are not alone. We are stronger together, and we are not afraid. 

When I woke up to TV whispers of news in Orlando, all I heard were somber monologues. The ones where an expert is on, talking about the days tragedy. I thought to myself, I bet something bad has happened. Moments later as I scrolled through my Facebook feed I would read exactly what had occurred. 

I'll be honest and say most worldly events these days, don't shock me. It's not that I'm apathetic, it's that humanity has shown over and over that there is a deep hatred in too many lost souls. Media has shown us, that this is what they need to highlight. So, I generally try to steer away from commenting on these events because I feel through the misinformed, misguided banter, many a solid point is lost. 

That said, this is meaningful enough to put out an opinion on to me. If you went to school with me you'd know, I always asked or answered others questions. Or, I always volunteered to read. Why? Because I felt a gap in what other students asked, or because the reading was at a snails pace. This is me in life. I need there to be real enlightenment here. I need people to stop sitting idle, dragging in action, and realize that we need to talk about these issues and now. 

That's why it was so important for me to attend when I saw a friend share the 'Dallas Vigil for Orlando Group'. It's not because I knew anyone personally, but because we are all the people who went to Pulse that night. We all want to celebrate life with friends, in a safe environment. If we don't show up for others when they mourn, than what does that say about us are a community? 

Standing next to my former intern, and friend Greg (a SMU senior), we strained to see and hear. What we could see was a crowd and what we heard were echoes of city leaders and folks live streaming amidst the onlookers. 

I also saw love. So much love. Couples embracing each other all that much closer and friends huddled together as we listened to Dallas leaders, like Police Chief David Brown and Mayor Mike Rawlings. At one point a speaker encouraged us to turn to our neighbor and hug them. This was beautiful to witness and be a part of. 

 

Greg and I made our way to the other side of the crowd and found ourselves on the front lines. 

Shortly after we were joined by our city leaders, before all beginning our police-escorted March to Legacy Monument. As we walked in solidarity, I thought about the faces I saw around me. Straight men, straight women, Latinos, Muslims, African American, former street-violence victims, activists, friends, humans. 

At one point I could hear the man next to me whispering Hail Mary, "Hail Mary full of Grace pray for our sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.". Simple, scripted words that felt exceptionally powerful in the moment, regardless of a persons personal beliefs. 

Another man said to the person next to him that their friend wanted to come but was scared. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit scared myself. Scared that some idiot with an agenda would use our love as a vessel for their hateful plots. But then he told him, 'me too, but as my dad always says, 'you can't live your life in fear'". I turned back to them and told them I couldn't agree more. 

I have a huge fear of car accidents. And yet I drive everyday. If I do not let those fears rule me in my routine of life, why would I start to let fear rule me now? 

Ironically in the middle of finishing this blog today I was rear-ended on the highway in a 4-car accident. Luckily there were no injuries, but the moment reaffirmed that I am making the right choices with my time here on this earth. 

As we continued to walk and got closer to the destination we began to hear faint cheers in the distance from Oak Lawn. Greg turned to me and said, "I'm glad I came". I was glad he came too.

Character means something to me. Leading by example, backing up foreshadowed words with real-time actions. That counts. Even if that 'simply' means walking the block with a group who locally has faced adversity as a representation of hope and solidarity for Orlando and the world. 

When we finally reached our destination the energy was somber, calm, and strong. Heads held high holding signs of strength. From Dallas To Orlando light in purple for all to see. 

One man held up a peace sign for too many minutes to count. People began singing, song of peace.

"Imagine"

 

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today... Aha-ah...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace... You,..

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world... You,..

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

The person next to me was silently crying while a friend put their arm around his shoulder. This was the case for many people, rightfully grieving together. 

After a few more moments, people began to walk back or wait in line for the buses.

As I made the way back to my car, I passed by the bright rainbow Dallas BIG sign stationed in front of the Resource Center. Still holding my lit candle, a woman turned to me and said, "someone is suppose to stand there to be the 'I'". I then layed my candle in the middle and told her, "for those who can't stand here for themselves". 

This blog is dedicated to those who lost their lives in Orlando, but also to everyone who has to live in fear. Whether that be fear of being your true self, fear of judgement, fear of persecution, fear of death. Let the light that we lit in unison and remembrance be the reminder that you are not alone. We are here. I am here. And as long as I have air in my lungs, and a mind to propel me, I will continue to show up for what is right. My hope is that others will continue to join me too. 

If you'd like to surround yourself with and celebrate like-minded people working towards LGTB rights, you can attend The Spirit of Equality Awards, to be held on June 15th from 12pm-1pm at City Hall. 

If you are a member of the LGTBQA community and are looking for fellowship and access to information, visit the amazing people at the Resource Center! Even if you aren't visit them for possible ways you can get involved. 

If you or anyone you know has any information about the recent attacks in the Oak Lawn area, every detail counts. We can't give up on or forget our neighbors, this is happening now, in our own backyard, so come on Dallas don't give up. "It's always someone else's problem, until it's our own." www.dallaspolice.net