With the recent occurrences of horrifying violence in our nation, it seems frivolous to write about fashion or beauty or travel-all things that I love and that I think make life worth living. However, today at By Grace we want to offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the shootings in Orlando. We know their lives will never be the same.
It's hard for me to express what I'm thinking and feeling as an American, as a woman, as a Christian, and as a lover of people. So instead of writing about the gun laws I think we should pass, or how I believe hate cannot be tolerated and that we should love everyone of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic levels, etc., I will share with you the words of a dear friend, Riley McIlveen, following the act of hate that resulted in the worst shooting in American history. Riley is one of the most charismatic, talented, hilarious, compassionate, and loving people I know; he is also a member of the LGBT community, and he poignantly declares what I lack the eloquence to articulate:
"I was walking with my friend through Midsommer fest yesterday popping into different gay bars, laughing, dancing and listening to my dear girlfriend tell me "I love it here. I feel so safe!" as we sipped vodka soda's and made jokes with the bartenders. All I have been thinking about today is how everyone who went to Pulse last night expected to feel the same way, because our institutions, our bars, our clubs, our places of congregation accept all with open arms. Come as you are. You're safe here. You're free to be you. You do you, even. Our mantras, our calls for equality and change "Love is a Human Right, Stop H8, It Gets Better, Love is Love, PRIDE" serve to promote tolerance, compassion, love and kindness. Last night someone filled with hate entered one of our institutions, murdered and injured men, women and people that were doing nothing but laughing, dancing, making jokes with the bartender and spending time with people they loved in a place they felt safe. This person not only took the lives of our brothers and sisters, but wanted to take the safety our community has fought for through centuries of persecution, execution and isolation. The safety and comfortability and PRIDE we have in our community and the way we were born. He will not get that victory. This horrific act will not take away our Pride and I will be f****** damned if it takes away the feeling of safety within our own community. Live in love and pity those that live in hate. My heart breaks for Orlando."
Our hearts break too.
We must absolutely live in love.
Until next time,