Be a Leader of Love In A Time of Hate
A lot has happened in one year. We have a new president, new international worries, a new kind of political energy throughout the country, and perhaps a different kind of change in our own awareness when it comes to the world’s most newsworthy topics.There are so many news stories that it is hard to keep track on what is meaningful.
One headline from last year is still very fresh on my mind, though. I believe it was the most significant and soul-shattering moment that I promised myself never to forget. It is a moment in our nation’s history that hit the core of what we all hold close to us as Americans – our safety.
One year ago this month marks the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub terrorist attack, where 49 beautiful souls were killed and 53 injured. This heartless act was the deadliest single-gunman mass shooting in U.S. history. It took the lives of innocent Americans and tore the hearts out of their families and friends. How can we ever forget the sound of those sirens and images of people running out of that Florida nightclub, crying, and carrying each other to safety? These videos and pictures that spread across our television screens and laptops at the early hours of the morning should have made every American take a step back and catch their breath to see what hate really does look like.
These videos and pictures that spread across our television screens and laptops at the early hours of the morning should make every American take a step back and catch their breath to see what hate really does look like. What happened in that nightclub on the night of June 12, 2016, could have happened to any one of us. If that does not make you think and fuel a need to have purpose pumping throughout your veins, then I don’t know what will. I am sick and tired of this blanket of hate that covers our county’s kindness and values. The hate needs to stop.
I mourn for my LGBTQ community, for any friend, or relative that was directly connected to one of the victims. With that said, if you are reading this article, you need to know that you are very much linked as much as anyone else. You are not just an American – you are a human and this boils down to human rights, hate crimes, our safety and how we treat one another.
You may not know the Pulse victims personally, but you have seen their faces and know that could have been your son, daughter, neighbor or coworker. I encourage you to take time out in your day and have a moment of silence and honor their lives. We owe it to them, we owe it to them to keep their names alive, their spirit remembered, and fight for a country that does not tolerate hate. My focus of this article is to send my highest respect to the victims and their loved ones, but to bring out the power we have within us and motivate you to use it in your own way to make a difference.
A simple act of kindness goes a long way and so does using your knowledge and education to help others understand what the definition of “love” truly means. Because, if you are indeed a person of faith, or have a deep spirituality, or proclaim to love this country, then you should not have hate in your heart — let alone judgment. The opposite of hate is love, and people that love — do not judge. It really is that simple.
Terrorism is a whole other topic for another day, but as you read these words coming across your screen – it is my biggest hope that you are ignited to not just be more of a person with compassion, but be a leader of love. Love will always conquer hate. It may not make its impact right away, but it always comes through especially through the darkest of times.
So, as you see the LGBTQ community partake in all the Pride festivities this month, please know that no matter how loud the music is playing, they are holding a sadness within them. We tragically lost brothers and sister of our community, of our country to an act that is selfish, so hateful, so opposite of what we believe in. For those of you that don’t understand completely, a gay club is not just a club. It symbolizes much more than that. It is an escape for some, a place of peace for others, an environment where one can express themselves, be free, not be looked upon as different and most importantly, a place to feel loved. So, when the Pulse Nightclub was attacked, it attacked our spirit and the pure foundation of one being able to be their authentic selves.
As you see the reminders on social media and the pictures of the victims, I would like you to reflect on what else could be done. How can you make sure nobody close to you is ever affected by hate? I believe you don’t have to move mountains to make a significant difference – all you have to do is start being the change within your own self that you want to see. Stand up for people that are different, use your voice through your own platform, be bold, but always make sure it comes from a place of love. Your intent in wanting to do better and be better must always come from a selfless ray of goodness. I know we can all add that much-needed light that our country needs.