I’ve continued to post about random pieces of our lives here for the past two days, but make no mistake that underneath all of that perceived “normalcy” my family, my community, my city, and our country are still reeling from the events in Orlando this past weekend. Our television stations here are showing around-the-clock coverage, our radio stations are broadcasting tributes and updates in between every song they play and some have even stopped playing music altogether. My Facebook feed is… well, I can barely take it. Friends mourning people they knew and people whose names we have all come to know in the past few days.
Chris went to work on Monday with a heavy heart. He had over 300 kids coming for summer camps that day. He spent the early morning doing an active assailant refresher course for his staff and camp counselors. He spent the rest of the day explaining to terrified parents what safety precautions had been put into place to protect their children.
“I must have walked around and checked that our doors were locked a hundred times today,” he told me, choking back tears.
I know this fear will pass. We are not a nation of fear and Orlando is certainly not a city of fear. We are a city of theme parks, international tourists, family vacations, sunshine, beaches, and lots of love in all forms. Fear has no place here. But in these immediate days, as we absorb the shock of two deadly shootings in the past week, our city continues to lean on each other for support, comfort, and peace. And I am confident that these things will win out over the fear.
Many friends and family have reached out to us and asked how they can help the city during this time. I thought I’d put together a list of organizations that I know are working within our city right now to help:
OneOrlando.Org – http://www.oneorlando.org/ – A fund coordinated by our Mayor to give relief and funeral assistance to victims and families.
Support Victims of Pulse Shooting – https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund – This GoFundMe campaign, sponsored by Equality Florida, has raised over $3 million to support victims and their families.
One Blood Mobile Drives and Donation Centers – https://www.oneblood.org/donate-now/ – While the immediate need for blood donors has subsided, One Blood is requesting that people go ahead and make appointments to give blood in the coming weeks, as the current blood supply will be depleted.
Support Orlando Regional Medical Center doctors, nurses, and staff – Text “Orlando” to 20222 to donate $10 to ORMC’s Level One Trauma Center (the donation will be added to your cell phone carrier bill). Or donate online at give.orlandohealth.com/ORMC (monetary donations can be made using a credit card at this website). For additional questions or inquiries regarding monetary donations, please email OrlandoHealthGiving@OrlandoHealth.com or call (321) 841-5194.
If you are looking for something to do that involves more than monetary support, I urge you to contact your state representatives in Congress. You don’t have to be eloquent. You don’t have to offer a solution. You don’t have to bash politicians or blame groups of people. A simple note to ask for change will go a long way, if it comes from enough people.
Find your representatives here: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
And then write your own note or copy and paste any of the following:
Dear Representative _________,
It is time for change and reform to our gun laws. Orlando needs it. Our country demands it. We are looking to you for leadership.
Dear Representative ________,
I support responsible gun ownership and the Constitutional right to arm myself. However, assault weapons have no place in our country today. I stand with Orlando.