An open letter to my home, The City Beautiful

This is not an essay about politics. I will not be politicizing the terrorism that has occurred in my home. This is not about gun control or Islamophobia. This is about love and hope. Which, in my opinion, transcends all of that, and is something we all need. Especially in a time like this.

When “that” city – the city that has been attacked – is your city, the impact is different. When that city is where your dearest friends are, where your family is – where your heart is – your perspective is different. A horrendous act occurred in Orlando – a terrorist attack that took many innocent lives, senselessly. Even the words I’ve used to describe the fact of the situation – horrendous, terrorist, senseless – cannot even begin to illustrate or explain the violence and pain that has hit this city. A city that’s always been calm and full of families seeking fun has quickly become associated with hatred and loss; the greatest loss in United States history. You read about the terrorist attacks across the world and it pains you, it angers you, it frustrates you, but it doesn’t hit you in quite the same way. However, this letter isn’t about distinguishing levels of pain or trying to find the words to manifest it on paper. This is a letter of hope.

The attack that took place in our home is not an attack on Orlando, but on people; on humanity. It is an attack on the LGBTQ community; a community made up of people who live and love like any others. For me, I cannot fathom the idea of someone wanting to hurt people because of who and how they love. And to respond to that love with hatred? It is simply unimaginable to me and something I will never be able to understand. This terrible act has manifested into a horrific reminder that there are still people in this world, in this country, who do not believe in equality. People who will, and have, done everything in their power to fight against it. However, this attack has also manifested into a powerful reminder that love will always wins because love transcends hate.

Hate doesn’t unite a community nor does it bring progress. Hate doesn’t create solutions nor does it answer prayers. Hate doesn’t build long lasting relationships nor does it lead to happy endings. Hate drains and destroys and delays and creates problems and rejects and ruins. Hate never wins. And in times like these, I want you to know that. You being my younger brother who still can’t quite grasp the hatred this world actually contains. You being my best friends who have worked with/knew someone who lost their lives or pass by Pulse every so often when they’re downtown. You being the mother who is going to outlive their child. You being the aunt or sister or cousin who’s waited 11 hours to donate blood just because you want to help. It is in times like these when it is most difficult to keep one’s faith – faith in anything. But don’t forget that there is always love. And there always will be. We will rebuild and take care and stand side by side in solidarity. We will work to create a better world, a safer world. We will inspire, motivate, and produce. We will not forget, but our community will surpass the terrible repercussions of such hatred because “love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” And it – we – will win.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

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