We love you Orlando


Sunday morning I woke up to horrible news, for the second day in a row. Saturday I work up to the news first that The Voice singer, Christina Grimmie, was gunned down. My heart went out to her, and I thanked the stars that no one else was hurt. Sunday, even worse news came down as a shooting at a popular club had happened, and not only injured a lot of people. Mayor Buddy Dyer confirmed the worst…over 50 had lost their lives in a senseless act.

This is not a news report. This is a plea for love.

Orlando is an amazing place, not only because of all the world-class tourist destinations, but because of the people who live in the city, and make everything that happens there possible. They are some of the most welcoming and loving people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. They come from all over the world. Some were born there, some come from different parts of Florida, others from different parts of the country, and still more others from different parts of the world.

We don’t have the pleasure of calling Orlando home, yet…but we are there every weekend, at theme parks, restaurants and enjoying time with friends. The news floored me, as I searched (and am still searching) Facebook for any reports of friends that may have been at the club. Facebook has relieved a little bit of the anxiety by putting out a “check in” app for those who live in the city. Even more, I worry for our readers. We know a lot of you are in Orlando. Are you okay? Is your family okay? We really do worry, and care for you all.

We are praying and sending positive thoughts to all of you. To the victims and their families. Also to all of you. We are living in a time where bad things are happening to good people for no reason at all.

A lot of terms are being thrown around. “Terrorism”-Yes…it was certainly an act of terrorism, but not (as of now) linked to a terrorist group. “Hate”-Yes…you have to hate someone in order to be able to gun them down. “Gun Control”…now is just not the time to talk about it, but a conversation needs to happen eventually.

The news hit even closer to home as the gunman was announced as being from Port St. Lucie, right in the same area that I live. There’s a good chance I’ve bumped into him, seen him, or maybe even have had a conversation with him at one point in time or another. What does that mean? That means that this individual lived in a space that is roughly 200 miles away from Orlando. It could have happened at any place, and anytime.

Does that mean we are not safe? A little bit, yeah.

It also means that we need to look out for each other more. Orlando is a second home to me, and it’s an amazing place. However, there is a lot of anger and negativity in the world. Orlando needs to be the place that everyone looks to as a place that has gone through this terrible tragedy, and never once faltered. The love coming from there is needed more than ever. Yes, this was a gay club. Let’s get that out there. BUT let’s also let it be known that the LGBT community and the theme park community are intertwined. Many straight people were at the club. For many Pulse was more than a “gay club” it was simply THE club. It was where friends from all over mingled, and had fun outside of the busy world of tourism. It was a melting pot of many different people, ethnicities, and sexual orientation.

There will be anger, but channel it into something else. Show a simple act of kindness today, and maybe try to help the community.

Instead of taking negative action, do something positive. As of right now, there is a desperate need for blood donors in the Orlando and Florida area. Even if you’re not in the area, it’s always a great thing to do, as it’s the best way to give of yourself and actually save lives. If you are in the area and want to help,call 1.888.936.6283 or visit the official Florida One Blood Website by clicking here.

Want to help, but can’t donate blood? It’s it’s hot outside. People are lined up around blocks to donate. People need to stay hydrated! The blood centers are asking donors to stay hydrated.
A good suggestion is, if you can put bottled water in a cooler & go hand it out to people in the lines. Juice, snacks, hand fans, etc. are needed for these folks too! Please help if you can.
Prayers & good intentions are free…so give them to our community. We need love & healing right now!

Our thoughts once again go out to the victims and families that were affected, and also to everyone in Orlando. Stay strong, love deeper than you ever have, and it will get better.