I let my thoughts ruminate on this post for the last week to figure out whether I wanted to comment at all and if so - how. Bare with me as I try my best to write on such an emotional topic and (hopefully) keep my rambling reigned in to a respectable amount.
I remember where I was in middle school the day of the Columbine shooting. I remember where I was a couple years later in my freshman year of high school on the morning of 9/11, watching live news feeds televising the deaths of hundreds. Then later following news reports on Sandy Hook, Aurora, Boston, Virginia Tech, Florida State,..too many others...and now Orlando.
Each of these atrocities broke my heart. I try to give my fellow humans as much love and compassion as I can offer and each of these losses hurt my soul. The Florida State shooting was an assault on the alma mater campus of my husband. The library where we spent hours together studying for classes and enjoying our scant time in each other's immediate vicinity during a long distance relationship. It cracked into our personal world and tarnished the place where we had started building our love for one another.
Orlando's tragedy ripped me to shreds in the midst of a vacation home in Florida. Sleeping in my hometown mere hours away, I had no idea what was happening in the city I had become an adult in. I lived in Orlando while I went to college at UCF. I gained my independence there, became an adult there, and left as the first in my family to receive a 4 year degree. It's where my husband asked me to be his girlfriend. Where I lived while we went months without seeing one another, sustained by phone & Skype video calls, endless texting, and email. That city is a beloved part of my history that I will always miss in between always-too-short visits.
This morning, in the light of this most recent attack on our society, I want us to turn the anger and mourning and fear into action. Sustainable action instead of merely a wave of intense emotion that inevitably fades into complacency a week later. I want to see blood donations climb and level at a new high. I want us to focus on loving our fellow human and being kind to the Earthlings with whom we share this planet. Compassion. I'm talking about active compassion, guys.
Whatever your political sway may be, be an active citizen and vote in every election (as an informed voter no less!). Local, state, and federal government is shaped by the people we vote into office. Stop forfeiting your voice to the few who show up at the polls! Write to your representatives and fight for your causes. Stop digging your heels in in hatred towards other Americans and encourage thoughtful discussion as well as the path to compromise and resolution.
More important and something done so easily each and every day: love one another. Stop fighting over differences of opinion and faith and love your fellow human. We are all in this together regardless of whether we agree on everything.
This morning I'm announcing the permanent induction of a new bookmark which will grow to become a line of products over time: Satyagraha. All proceeds from the purchase of the bookmark or its eventual sister products will be given in donation to The National Compassion Fund. "Developed by the National Center for Victims of Crime in partnership with victims and family members from past mass casualty crimes", the fund provides a transparent way for the public to "donate directly to victims of mass crime." My hope is to see this line become an active funnel of encouragement for compassionately showing love to one another in the face of the fear and violence that may surround us.
Sending you all love and compassion,