June 14, 2016
Responding to the Pulse Nightclub Killings
The mass shooting in Orlando is a horrific act rooted in homophobia and hate. Many innocent lives were taken and many more are struggling in critical condition to survive. As we attempt to bond together many of us are asking what’s next, what can we do?
As community members and professional social workers we have many ways we can help. NASW- Alabama & Florida encourages everyone to do what you can and ensure your own support and help.
In the immediate days to follow help is needed in critical areas. Help will continue to be needed in the weeks and months to come. Here are 8 important steps you can take:
1) Blood and plasma donations
If you are able to donate blood or plasma, whether in the Orlando area or not, please do so. In Orlando there are multiple oneblood centers. For centers in your area call 1-888-936-6283. Please note that sexually active gay and bisexual men are still barred from donating. Get involved in policy, it impacts daily lives.
NASW- FL has reached out to Orlando Gay & Lesbian Center. As their need for therapist over the coming week(s) evolve we will let you know via social media. If you are interested and able to volunteer time please stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter feed for this direct request. Additionally if you are able to help in your area you can reach out to your local Gay & Lesbian Center to offer such assistance and support.
3) Financial help for families of those who were murdered:
Equality Florida a statewide support and advocacy organization for the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender Community has established a GoFundMe account. Florida Equality is a well-respected and financially secure organization. All funds raised will go directly to the victims and families affected by this tragedy. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund
4) Support families and those in the hospital:
There are personal letters being delivered to people in the hospital through www.NVEEE.org.
5) Speak up:
Whether in person or via social media, if you hear statements that are rooted in hatred speak up. Bigotry and oppression exists in part through silence alone. There is a long history of hatred for the LGBT community and every time a "joke" is made or a hateful statement is said without opposition, it is a signal of acceptance for that hatred.
6) Ask questions:
If you are not familiar with the LGBT community and the oppression the community experiences ask questions, learn more, and become educated. Violence is rooted in ignorance. The more we know the more we can do.
7) Create communities:
Differences are easy to see, but in doing so we often overlook the many similarities. They are opportunities to join together and create communities all around.
8) Get involved:
Creating a peaceful world requires active engagement towards peaceful behaviors. There are a variety of ways one can get involved including stepping up in leadership roles in your communities or profession, work on policies locally and nationally, volunteer, and encourage everyone you know to vote in November.