Early Sunday morning, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history took the lives of 50 people. The community and countless individuals will bear scars from this attack for the rest of their lives. It occurred on “Latin Night” at an LGBT+-affirming nightclub during Pride month.
We are devastated. We are furious. We are scared. We are heartsick.
We each attended vigils yesterday in remembrance of the victims and survivors, one in Tucson and one in Madison. They were separated by hundreds of miles but at each, we heard our feelings echoed by other voices. It was easy to feel overwhelmed as they spoke of the stark realities LGBT+ individuals face daily and the complex intersecting evils that contributed to this tragedy: fear for our safety, racism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and the now real fear of guns. Yet through it all, the other themes that rang loud and clear were those of peace, solidarity, hope, and love.
As graduate students in psychology we are called on to use our knowledge and skills to fight oppression and provide support in times of trial. When the world feels complicated and broken, how can we take steps on our own campuses and in our own lives to hold onto hope and move toward healing systems and souls? Here are some practical things you can do, whether you identify as LGBT+ or as an ally:
- Show up
- Attend the candlelight vigils that are being coordinated nationwide.
- Get informed – learn about what’s going on, read here and here.
- Stop by your campus or local city LGBT+ center to meet folks and offer solidarity; click here for the Campus Pride website.
- Reach out to friends and loved ones, to provide and receive the social support that we know helps confer resilience in times of distress.
- Show up for yourself – be sure to keep taking care of your own basic needs like sleep, a balanced diet, and exercise.
- Speak up
- Write to your elected officials, U.S senators and representatives.
- Share your feelings and thoughts and engage in dialogue through blogs, psychology-related listservs, and/or social media.
- In the upcoming presidential elections, vote with your ballot.
- Step up
- Take action on your campus to advocate for inclusive spaces.
- Consider donating to the victims of the Pulse shooting, click here for Equality Florida GoFundme.
- Call it out when you notice microaggressions or other injustices – don’t be a bystander; resources on microaggressions and anti-bullying.
- Offer services and work to increase your competency to do so with diverse populations and in the context of trauma/victimization.
As more details of this event emerge in the coming days, let us remember that there are layers of complexity to this massacre. Also, let us remember the intersecting identities of those who were affected, as this shooting disproportionately affected people of color and our Latina/o LGBT+ family. Let us stand together with our allies in our mourning, fear, anger, and devastation, but also in our solidarity and hope for a more peaceful, accepting, and just society for all.