Before I get to the heart of this blog on how San Diegans can help Orlando, I wanted to share a few personal thoughts.
To say it’s been a heavy week would be an understatement. In the wake of the Orlando tragedy I’ve struggled to find an appropriate outlet for my feelings. Some friends changed their Facebook profile photo. Others started heated discussions on gun control. Some turned to politics or religion and others simply to their gay and lesbian friends with loving support. I didn’t know how to express my sadness in a way that felt genuine. Not that there is any right or wrong way to reach out, but there were actions that personally felt hollow for the same reasons they felt disingenuous after Paris…San Bernardino…Newtown. It feels temporary. How long does the outrage last until we forget? How long until the next mass shooting forces us to remember?
As many of you know, I run SanDPups by myself with the support of my husband and trusty sidekick, Stella. As I thought about this week’s blog topic, many ideas crossed my mind but only one stuck. I wanted to write about Orlando. For as small as my business might be, I feel most powerful sharing my thoughts on this public platform. As such, there are two purposes for this blog.
1. To let my readers, friends, family, and clients know I support the LGBTQ community fully as an individual, Encinitas community resident, and business owner. SanDPups stands not only with Orlando victims but lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people everywhere.
2. To let locals know how San Diegans can help Orlando. To directly assist victims and their families, I urge you to make a monetary contribution to one of the following organizations. Every cent counts—even if it’s just $5 or $10.
- Donate to Equality Florida’s Pulse Victims Fund. At the time of publication, they have raised $4.9 million of their $7 million goal to directly support victims and survivors.
- Donate directly to Equality Florida whose mission it is to secure full equality for Florida’s LGBT community and end suffering as a result of harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Donate to the OneOrlando Fund to be dispersed among local nonprofits that support the victims and their families.
- Donate to Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, the rescue organization that has offered to shelter pets of Orlando victims whether hospitalized or deceased.
- Donate to the K-9 Comfort Dogs team that recently deployed to Orlando to provide therapy to victims and their loved ones.
Certainly, attention to topics like gun control, terrorism, mental health, etc. are far more impactful in the prevention of future tragedies—but like you, I don’t have the answers. Instead, I would challenge you to open your mind, let compassion in, ask questions, lead meaningful discussions, and get involved in your local government. Sign petitions, make phone calls—do what you can however small because it does make a difference.
“Love is love”—absolutely, but please don’t preach acceptance and change your profile picture to a rainbow flag while spewing hatred toward those who don’t agree with your solutions to this tragedy. I understand where the intentions lie, but I think our collective anger can easily become misguided. Let’s rise above all forms of hatred—the kind against our gay brothers and sisters and transgender neighbors and the other kind toward those who don’t share our religious or political beliefs. Let’s practice what we preach.
If our animals can love unconditionally regardless of race, gender, class, religion, and sexual orientation—can we? Can we try?
Yes, I believe we can. We can do better. Donate money if it’s feasible. Volunteer with The San Diego LGBT Community Center or another gay-friendly organization. Vote on gun reform. Do those things if you can. But remember the repeated display of love, compassion, and acceptance is the most powerful action of all.