I choose not to use the mass murder at Pulse Night Club to shame, argue, proselytize, proof text, call people on their sins, propagate my biblical hermeneutics or determine who and who isn't right before God.
49 people died. Lost their lives. Stopped breathing. Left kids, parents, families, places of employment, communities, and dreams. Another 53 people are at this moment traumatized, scared, having flashbacks, and potentially suffering with guilt for being alive. All of them targets of violence because of the identity they have by a person who was fully engulfed in hatred of himself and the community he attacked.
A community of people. All over the world, specifically in our nation, more specifically LBTBQ people of color who carry intersectional, multilayered identities are mourning, hurting, and afraid. This might be a good time to open your eyes. Look around you. People in spaces around you are grieving.
I do choose to use this opportunity as a moment to give voice to the victims of senseless violence, to amplify the right to exist without theirs or anyone's humanity being diminished and their full dignity been affirmed and valued. I choose to use this opportunity and every platform that I have to look at the ways in which we propagate hatred because of our phobias, lack of understanding, not being intimately connected to people who don't share our experiences or identities to create an equitable world. And through education, relationships, coalition building, systemic policy changes, and individual accountability and ownership of our privileges with the desire to dismantle them and use them for good, we can do that.
If there are any questions to ask today or in the coming days aside from wondering how we can tangibly and practically help the people who are mourning and be light and love to them it should be to question ways that we perpetuate our own biases and phobias or are complicit in predicating discrimination in the world around us. This event could be the medium to help us actualize the impact of our intended message to the world around us. We can look inwardly examining how we think, feel, what we say, how we act, and in what/who we believe. Through decisive action we can act to turn our hearts around so we can see the humanity in people. We don't have to agree on anything to treat folks with dignity, value, and worth.
We change the culture by expanding the conversations we have with the people in our sphere of influence every day and allowing those conversations to dismantle, challenge, and redirect our presuppositions.
50 people are dead. Their bodies still being pieced together. Moms are seeing their sons for the first time in a body that bears no resemblance to how they last day. Other bodies not even in the ground to rest. Their legacies and the dignity that undergird them are worth more than that.
We have to elevate the conversation.