Our hearts and thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones in Orlando in the largest shooting mass murder in American history and to those who identify with the lgbtq community that is stunned and grieving. The early hours of Sunday June 12 demonstrated the work we have to do as an organization, as a country and as a people. It seems that anytime a group of people gain some recognition of their human and civil rights there is always “pushback”. Lgbt people have made great strides in the legal arena over the past several years, however, changing the hearts and minds of individuals can be a lot tougher. While this tragedy appears to be the work of one individual, make no mistake that all hate speech puts us all at risk. Young people, confused people, people experiencing emotional distress, people who are extreme in their thoughts are most vulnerable to the hate we are seeing spewed in this country, every day. Whether by politicians or clergy or organizations or by everyday people through social media, we are all at risk. Hate breeds hate. Hate turns us against each other. All those encouraging hate and divisiveness contribute to tragedies like this one. We cannot allow this dialogue to be about Islam. That is a distraction and further divides. We implore you to reach out to those who are suffering, to those who may be different than you, to those you may not understand and make an effort to view the world from their perspective. Make an effort to listen, make an effort to understand, make an effort to love. We are all people, we all bleed red and we all deserve to live authentically.
The YWCA Greensboro is a social justice organization that believes in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. We believe no one deserves to die because of who they love.