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How people have already taken action in the wake of Orlando

Author: 
Rebecca Reyes
June 21, 2016

Flyer posted to a tree with the faces of the Orlando victimsIt’s the first time since I can remember that so many faces and stories on the news and on my Facebook feed came from a community so close to me that’s so often invisible, not recognized, or ignored.

As the events surrounding the tragedy at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando unfolded, the names and stories of the victims all seemed so familiar. Their faces, their smiles, their eyes, their stories are so much like my own queer Latinx friends and family.

It could have been me in the nightclub that night. It could have been my partner, my friends, my family.

It is another reminder of the risks I, and so many of us, face just for being who we are. It is another reminder of how far we still have to go to truly achieve equality so that none of us have to live in fear.

Even though I wasn't close to any of the victims, it still feels like I lost a piece of my own family.

People grieve these tragedies in many different ways. Some attend vigils. Some write. Others retreat and make time and space for themselves. Many take actions, big or small, to make a difference in the lives of those affected.

Building bridges across divides and taking action to make positive change is at the core of what we do at Everyday Democracy. And I’m seeing it happen on a national and global scale as a result of this tragedy.

I can only hope that someday we can live in a world where we can celebrate our differences without fear. Where we can truly listen to and respect one another. Where we are all represented in stories and in the media for the positive contributions we make to society. Where no one is targeted because of how we look, what we believe, or who we love. Where our race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religious or spiritual beliefs are no longer barriers to accessing education, housing, employment, healthcare, and other basic rights.

It’s up to us to make that change happen.

There's a lot of work to be done, but we know that by working together we can truly make a difference.

I’ve already seen an outpouring of support from people, communities, and organizations around the world. I hope it can help heal and inspire more action and change in the days, weeks, and months to come. 

Here are a just a few examples:

Sharing voices from communities most affected and giving light to systemic problems

 

Public support from many different communities

 

Blood banks were at capacity from the overwhelming response

 

Strangers show support for grieving families

 

Animals are both helping and being helped

 

Counseling is being provided to those affected

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Mayme Webb Bledsoe of the Duke Durham Neighborhood Partnership Uses Dialogue to Lift Voices in the Duke / Durham Community 

Dialogue to Change

Our ultimate goal is to create positive community change that includes everyone, and our tools, advice, and resources foster that kind of change. Whether you’re grappling with a divisive community issue, or simply want to include residents’ voices in city government, Everyday Democracy's Dialogue to Change process, using a racial equity lens, can help.