Here are two writing pieces to celebrate Pride Month: one that remembers the Pulse shooting and celebrates how we have continued to move forward from it and a poem about Pride Month.
Remembering Pulse: Orlando and How You Can Help
By Alex Garcia
The following was sent to the membership 5 years ago, while I was still reeling from the Pulse Orlando tragedy, right as I was elected Chapter President. I can’t believe it’s been five years since we cried, mourned, and marched. Some of you even hit the streets to defend mourning families and friends, as evil-doers [who shall not be named] tried to spread messages of hate.
“NOT IN ORLANDO!” you screamed, decked out in PVC-and-bedsheet angel wings, and I will always be thankful for that.
The weekend after, 50,000 people from all walks of life filled the perimeter of Lake Eola to capacity. We were OrlandoStrong.
Now, I invite you to #honorthemwithaction by following some of the annotated links in the message below.
I have updated some of the links in the original email and explained how they’ve evolved through the years.
Members and Friends of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC,
I never thought that my first message after being elected Chapter President would be a somber one.
I have been trying to find the words to write this message for the past three days. Our city, our community, lost its innocence on early Sunday morning. I write to you today as your Treasurer, your President-Elect, and a PROUD member of the Orlando LGBT community. Some of you are learning that in this very message.
I would like to thank some of you for the outpouring of kindness since the news broke. From the text messages, and messages on Facebook showing relief at my safety (and that of my partner’s) [Now husband – we got married at the Orange County Courthouse later that summer on 8/8/16 because we’re nerdy like that]. Then, your posts about blood donations, vigils, marches, just a true sense of solidarity for Orlando. If you or anyone you know were personally impacted by the tragedy, please reach out to me at the contact information below and I will listen and get you the resources you need.
The work to rebuild our community is just getting started. Many people have asked how they can help. Here are a few options:
- Consider a tax-deductible donation to www.OneOrlando.org – a 501(3)(C) created to support the victims and their families.
[The One Orlando fund closed in April 2017 after raising $31.6 Million to help the survivors and families of the 49 Angels. Pulse Orlando’s legacy lives on through the One Pulse Foundation. They are raising funds for the National Pulse Memorial and Museum. Also, TheDruProject, a foundation in honor of my college friend and Pulse victim Drew Leinonen, helps K-12 schools set up Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and curriculums and offers college scholarships each year.]
- Consider donating blood: To see locations and to make an appointment, please visit https://www.oneblood.org/
[This is still a great idea. In June 2021, OneBlood is offering a limited edition 5-year commemorative t-shirt]
- The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida is putting together coolers full of supplies for the victims’ families. They are currently in need of donations of big, sturdy coolers and ice. Please drop off at 946 N. Mills Ave in Orlando if you can help.
[“The Center” building on Mills underwent a facelift in 2017 and is better equipped to help the community. They’ve also opened a satellite location in downtown Kissimmee.]
- TRANSLATORS NEEDED: The Hispanic Chamber is looking for volunteer translators for families arriving from Puerto Rico as they go to vigils, funerals, and hospital visits for the victims. Contact them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will rebuild. We will move forward. #OneOrlando #OnePulse #OneSTC
We Fight As One
By Julia Southwick 6/10/2019
Oh. Right.It’s that time of year again. It’s June. It’s...Pride month. So happy pride—I guess. What’s that? Why do I not sound Full of pride? It’s not for the reasons many jump to. I’m lucky enough to have Family, friends, loved ones who all support and love me no matter what. So why am I not prideful Happy That it’s pride month? I mean, Some are out Loud and proud. Some are out Quiet and proud. Some are out Only to certain people they know will support them, Living in fear of the day when Less supportive people close to them Discover their closeted secret Or just unsure of how to tell those closest to them. My LGTQ’s are more acknowledged Than my BIA+’s Both inside the LGBT+ community And outside of it. Some face more erasure than others Because of the way they identify. Both inside the LGBT+ community And outside of it. Some are denied services And the right to serve Because of the way they identify. You know this I know this and it Rightfully Upsets me. I just had a thought (And let me make this clear: I don’t mean to ignore or make light of the struggles these individuals face) These struggles Are not Your struggles They are our struggles. We all face a lack of positive representation We all face discrimination We all face fear of being mugged Assaulted Shot We all face erasure We all face the ignorant We all face the hateful We all fight oppression We fight as one With one voice, One intention: To be seen Heard Listened to Accepted Loved. And no matter how many times we are knocked down We will get up and again Fight as one We will achieve our goal We will be seen Heard Listened to Accepted Loved Because and only if We fight as one
Accepting the people who identify With labels we may have trouble accepting as belonging To our LGBTQIA+ community Fighting all erasure, ignorance, and hate Outside And inside our community Until we all are Seen Heard Listened to Accepted Loved By making sure to check ourselves Ensuring that We fight as one