Sunday, June 12, 2016

12 Things You Can Do About the Pulse Orlando Massacre


Last night, a gay club in Orlando, Florida was shot up by one misguided persun, and 50 were killed, and more than 50 were injured.
So far it is the worst mass shooting in American history, and we are hearing it has to do with Muslim/Islamic anti-gay rhetoric.
 Quickly, people are becoming largely divided and passionately so.
This is dangerous territory and yet it is also quite possibly the one thing that will band this nation together once and for all about gay rights,
 It is Gay Pride Day in Philadelphia as I type this - and I am pleased that in the 20+ years I've lived here I've seen that things have changed enough that people who would normally only attend the same-day Odunde (African-American) Festival now feel free to attend both. (Meaning there is less homophobia, internalized and otherwise, in the Black community.)
Here are some thoughts I am guided to share on this day:

What you can do about the shooting and its aftermath:

1) Stay calm, and stay loving.
2) Make sure everything that comes out of your mouth, pen, and computer is of a calm and loving nature.
3) Do not mistake justice for uncontrolled rage. There is a place to be angry while demanding justice, and with practice, and focusing on being calm and loving, you can find it. This is where you will lead your community - by example.
4) Remember we ALL lead our community, by our example. No one's voice is too small or insignificant. With a word or a tone, you can significantly impact or affect what your neighbors think and therefore will be likely to do.
5) If you are LGBTQIAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexed, asexual, and I'm adding polyamorous), COME OUT however you can. If you're lucky enough to have a situation and live in a location where you can be completely out to everyone, do that. PLEASE. And remember, you'll need to do it again and again over the years, as you meet new friends, move to new neighborhoods, and work new jobs. It's not a one and done. The more people know that we exist and deserve to be treated with equal respect, freedom, and love, the less space that hatred for us has to exist and proliferate. COME OUT. If you cannot come out to everyone everywhere anytime, come out to one persun, your therapist. Come out to yourself, which will also grow more opportunities and begin to change your circumstances. COME OUT. COME OUT. COME OUT. This is one of the greatest, most effective, and impactful thing we can do to counteract and reduce and over time completely obliterate hate-related violence and mistreatment of any kind.
6) Make friends with one persun you consider "the other". Do you have any LGBTQIAP friends? Make one. If you're LGBTQUIAP, do you have any Muslim friends? Make one? If you suspect someone is racist and/or homophobic, and you're sure they're not going to hurt you or your loved ones, try to get a little closer to them. It could just be a smile. Many a tide has turned because "the other" has befriended "the other". Remember that "divide and conquer" is a real thing, and the more banded together we are, the more just and pleasant a living environment we can create for all of us.
7) Join an organization of allies. Organisations and groups already exist for people who want to meet on this level. PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and other groups like groups for people who are both Muslim and gay, and groups that involve Jews and Muslims meeting - groups that are for whitefolks learning anti-racism, these all exist.
8) Start your own group. Many wonderful things have been created from pain: MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) came to be after a mother lost her child to a drunk driving incident. America's Most Wanted, the TV show which has brought countless violent offenders to justice, was created when its host's young son, Adam, was murdered. I started and ran my "Sisters Healing Together" peer support group for women survivors of incest with a special focus on compulsive overeating, in the late 90s because such a group did not exist at the time. If there's something you feel passionate about that could bring more peace and love and JUSTICE in the world - YOU start it. Don't wait and don't hesitate. The world needs ALL of us who feel impassioned, to do something.
9) Get involved in the government or politics, if that's your thing.
10) If you're an artist or creative persun, incorporate your feelings about this issue into your work. It doesn't have to be formal. You needn't write a folk song called "Love for Pulse" or something. If you love to bake, have a bake sale and donate the profits to a Muslim/Gay Allies group - that perhaps you start???
11) Use the heaven out of social media. Anything that you need to know is at Twitter.com. There's a reason Egypt blocked it during the uprising a few years ago, and a reason my friend visiting China says the internet connection there is horrible. The people have a LOT of power through social media.
12) I cannot stress enough the power of coming out of whatever closet you're in. And if you're already relatively out, consider being a little moreso. Add pictures of yourself with your partner and/or family to social media. Make your love and your difference more real to a larger audience.

Let us join forces of love to create a better world. This is the world that now has legal rights for gay people. This is a world that lets every consenting, unrelated adult marry each other.
 This is world that is getting more progressive over time.
This is our world.
Let's make it what will be good to us.
Let's take it back, with love as our currency.
Let's do it.
NOW.


-- 
Make yourself a beautiful day!

Cassendre Xavier
(aka Amethyste Rah, aka Amrita Waterfalls, aka Endowed Goddess)
"renaissance negresse"
$15,000 Leeway Transformation Award-Winning Community Cultural Arts Organizer
Founder & Executive Director of the Black Women's Arts Festival (Est. 2003) and the Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002).
Official website: http://cassendrexavier.com                   

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