“We are all witnesses.”
In times of tragedy like this I think of these words from Elie Wiesel. In the two classes I was blessed to have with him, this phrase was a driving point to his work as a teacher, writer, and humanitarian.
We must all bare witness to a new tragedy today. One that hits, physically, very close to home for me. I have many friends in Orlando. I have even more in the LGBT community and it breaks my heart. I still can’t believe that while I was sleeping and getting up for my Sunday, these people were fearing for their lives only two hours away from me.
We must bare witness the stories and the honesty of the lives of those who have fallen or been injured. We must bare witness to the result of rampant hatred and intolerance from different groups that have grown like a flourishing fungus. Then, we must continue on the journey to make our world a better place for all walks of life no matter their color, sexuality, gender, religion, etc.
All I ask from the world, particularly from my own friends and family reading this, is that you do not lose hope for humanity entirely and that you not try to place the blame on one belief or another. This was one man who was unbalanced and violent, encouraged by a group of equally hate-filled people.
I normally don’t like to talk religion on my social media or anything since I believe it is a purely personal choice that should not be influenced by constant comments made over the internet, but God, no matter which form of God you speak of, preaches the love and acceptance of others. God created life, gave us the beautiful gift of life, and would want us to share it with each other. If all you are getting from God is hatred and intolerance and the belief that you should kill everyone that thinks differently from you then you must be reading God wrong no matter which text it is.
We are all imperfect. We are all flawed. We are all hurt and angry and upset by the largest single-person mass shooting in the history of the U.S. But we are all also a source of good if given the opportunity. We have a chance to console a friend, donate blood, or stand up for those who want nothing more than to love another human being.
My heart and prayers go out to many people tonight. To those that lost their lives. To those who survived. To those whose fate has yet to be decided. To those who must now pick up the pieces. To those who could have also lost their lives in Santa Monica if the police had not caught the suspect in time. Even those who may be ignorantly blamed despite their innocence during their holy month and are actually donating blood despite their fasting.
I stand with all of those effected. I stand for kindness, compassion, and acceptance. I seek to learn so that I may be a soldier against the reckless, unnecessary ignorance that has plagued our world and that seems to being growing the older I get.
I am witness.
I am a human.