In the light of tragic events in Orlando this weekend, I find myself having to write one of the most sobering blogs I have ever had to. Let me start by saying that Orlando (and everywhere people are oppressed and hurting); the staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors of Different Roads Home stands with you.
Fifty people have been killed, including the assailant, and at least 53 injured in an attack inside a gay nightclub in Florida and is the worst mass shooting in US history. Together we, as a community and a nation, should be seeking solutions instead of placing blame, slanting the event as a political or religious tool, or even trying to capitalize on it as some organizations are doing (personally something I think is appalling). My heart is heavy and all I know to do is first pray for the families of those who lost loved ones. Yes, I said pray. I know that my God is not a God of hate and vengeance, but one of love and acceptance. That being said, it is probably hard for many people to find any solace in anything but anger. It is ok to be angry, but we need to direct our anger to good. We can channel this feeling into action. This shooting and its press coverage should not be about what political side you are on, where you go to church or don’t, or what your sexual orientation is. The fact is that innocent lives were snuffed out and taken too early for no other reasons other than hate. Indira Gandhi once said, “You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.” I know it is easy to want to place blame on a group or person for something so senseless because it makes us feel better to have someone to blame. The reality is that maybe there is something bigger at work that is driving this hate; ignorance, stigma, lack of acceptance. I am asking God that we are given the strength and wisdom to bring a greater understanding to unexplainable actions through his grace and love.
One of the greatest leaders of our time, John Kennedy said; “Only in the winter can you tell which trees are truly green. Only when winds of adversity blow can you tell whether an individual or country has courage and steadfastness.” I believe in these words, and I think, we as a nation, can come together if we lay pride aside and make change happen. If this society of ours is ever going to survive, we must cultivate the nature of human relationships. We must look at the factions of all people, of all kinds to live together, in the same world at the same time and in peace.
Whatever your feelings are about this horrible action, let it not lay dormant on your spirit. Take action to be the change you want to see in the world.
Love and Light,
President and CEO of Different Roads Home