By: Alex Garcia
Orlando Central Florida Chapter, STC
The second half of 2016 was QUITE the year for the Orlando community. Personally, I saw the highest of highs and unprecedented lows. Let’s reflect on the half-year that was:
- On June 12, 2016, Orlando was forever changed by the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub. Monday marked six months since that Sunday morning when I was awoken by concerned text and Facebook messages from across the world. That night, I lost a college friend, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, who attended the festivities and perished alongside his boyfriend Juan Guerrero. In the days following the tragedy, I saw my community (LGBT, Latinx, and the greater Orlando area as a whole) come together as I’ve never seen. They held vigils, gave blood, shielded mourners from witnessing protesters, and raised funds (to the tune of $27M distributed to 299 claimants as of press time). We should never forget the 49 lives lost that day, and the 53-plus lives forever changed by injury.
- On June 23, 2016, I was sworn in as President of your STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter at Liam Fitzpatrick’s Irish Pub in Lake Mary. Knowing that we were merging with the STC Suncoast Chapter, I set out right away to forge the new relationships that would carry this chapter forward. I patiently waited for the STC international home office to cement the change as we worked behind the scenes to plan the chapter year.
- On August 8, 2016 (yes 8/8/16 because I’m a nerd), I married my partner of 10 years in an intimate courthouse ceremony. We broadcast the nuptials on Facebook live (let me know if you would like to see the video). I will admit that the events of the summer cast a bittersweet shadow on the proceedings. When we set the date sometime in the spring, we never expected that our event would take on such great significance. I hope that our union brought a moment of brightness during the storm.
- On August 27, 2016, the Orlando Central Florida and SunCoast Chapters of STC held a joint leadership retreat at the University of Central Florida’s Technical Communication Computer Lab. For the better part of 5 hours, we planned chapter activities for this chapter year. Our chapter came out of that meeting stronger and well-prepared to carry on.
- In late October 2016, Dan Voss and Nicole Garcia, Mentoring co-chairs, recruited a RECORD BREAKING 16 mentoring pairs. It is my hope that these students serve as the foundation for the future of the STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter. Way to go Dan and Nicole!
- On November 8, 2016, for better or worse, the country elected its next President. This was the end of a 15-month (!) election cycle, of which we all felt fatigued from. In the coming days, we need to look out for one another and tend to our loved ones. The sun is still rising and setting. Be excellent to one another.
- On December 15, 2016, we will get together as a chapter to break bread and grill meat over a ridiculously-hot stone. Jack Molisani, a world-renowned speaker on Content Management, and STC Orlando Central Florida Chapter member, will moderate a festive discussion. I hope you will join us with your plus one. Please click here to RSVP.
As you can see, our STC Chapter is just part of life. It is a beacon of happiness and solidarity in a world that sometimes is not very bright and cheery. Life happens around us, yet we make time to volunteer to better our profession. I’d like to thank all of our volunteers on the Administrative Council for giving up their Tuesdays, Thursdays, sometimes even Fridays and Saturdays, to keep this chapter going. Let’s hope that 2017 is calmer than the past six months have been.
Until next year,