There are 49 innocent people dead this month, their dreams and goals unrealized, family and friends devastated, and many rocked with horror, disbelief, and grief.
This, after the tragedy at a night club in Orlando, Fla. June 12, where a man opened fire and killed or maimed more than 100 people – all because of hate – before being killed himself.
As the world mourns the loss of all those people and struggle to make sense of what has been the deadliest shooting in modern American history – some good is beginning to come in the aftermath.
Around the planet, we have seen people unite, coming together with a common voice. They’re all calling for an end to such hatred and pleading for people to be kind to each other.
It seems love is prevailing in the face of such a horrific event.
Here, in Surrey, the pride flag – a symbol of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community – is at long last flying at city hall, and will remain so until the city’s annual pride parade June 26. And in Maple Ridge, a sidewalk – like those on crosswalks in several cities across Canada – has been marked for solidarity with rainbow colours.
Will flying the pride flag undo the damage done by an angry man? No, of course not.
Will signing mass online “postcards of empathy,” or painting a walkway the colours of a rainbow bring back all those young lives? No.
But, a little paint or a new flag can’t hurt, either.
What it can do is turn the spotlight on the need for acceptance and love. It can be a symbol that hatred and bullying will not be tolerated.
In Surrey, strides have been made in that regard. Earlier this year, Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary celebrated its first-ever pride week by opening a gender-neutral washroom, and on Monday, Guildford Park Secondary hosted a district-wide ‘pride prom’ for members of the LGBTQ community and its many supporters.
These are small steps that give hope for the future, even when events like the Orlando shooting seemingly set everything back.
It’s up to us to make this world a better place, and to rise above the hatred. No doubt, we can still do more. It’s up to us to demand change, and do our part to live our beliefs, showing compassion and kindness for others.
It all starts from within. The next time you see someone being treated unfairly – for whatever reason – simply because of who he or she is, put yourself in their place. Do that, and chances are you will intervene. Then, others will follow.
Talking about change is a good thing. Creating change is even better.