THE ORLANDO MASSACRE: What Can We Do?
June 17, 2016
By Kris Palmer, PPG Interactive Corporation
News of the massacre in Orlando made me feel alternatively numb and frightened. How many acts of gun violence in America against innocent people have been reported since the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy? How do I respond in positive ways to those who have been directly impacted by acts of gun violence? What can one person do to make a difference?
I do not personally know any of the victims but that doesn’t mean they don’t have names. The fact that deranged gunmen or women have not assaulted the community where I live does not make me immune to recent acts of violence in Orlando – or to past shootings of innocent people – including children – in Boston, Los Angeles, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Aurora, CO, Lafayette, LA, Chicago, Detroit…and sadly, the list continues to grow.
What can we do to counter hatred and gun violence across our country? To feign shock by these stories but do nothing isn’t the right answer. I have hesitated to write about recent acts of gun violence knowing I am guilty at times of doing very little. Where to start? I hope this blog will help answer that question. It’s important to understand we cannot guarantee safety to our own families, communities or our society by hiding or “moving on” with our lives. In addition to prayer, I encourage readers to get involved by donating time, energy and resources in support of victims of terror and gun violence.
Although I felt sadness, followed by anger after hearing reports of the latest shooting, I’ve also been moved and inspired by those who have taken immediate action – reaching out to help the Orlando Pulse victims and their family members. Regardless of where we are living, we need to be part of the solution. We can each take action in support of people who have been impacted by neighborhood, community and workplace violence. From prayers to letter-writing, to giving blood or monetary donations – a hand up no matter how large or small is important. Every individual contribution and every awareness-building effort from the heart can make a difference in the life of another individual. Especially those so deeply impacted by this tragic event.
That said, moving forward, PPG Interactive will regularly profile an individual, a community or an organization that’s making a difference in the lives of others. Future stories will be posted on the PPG eNews Page. I’m starting by sharing information about what’s happening in Orlando, Florida. I wanted to learn more about what individuals can do to help and spoke with Rachel Calderon, Marketing and Communications Manager for the Central Florida Foundation. Rachel guided me to an important new website containing information about how and where to give.
The Central Florida Foundation is a public grant-making foundation that serves as a trusted philanthropic home for more than 400 charitable funds established by generous individuals, families and corporations. The Foundation and the City of Orlando have agreed to pursue separate strategies to respond to the needs of the Orlando community. The strategy, now called the Better Together Fund, provides a way to respond to the needs of the Orlando community now and in the time ahead. This effort will take place through a transparent, accountable grant-making process addressing the following priorities:
- Nonprofits that are supporting the victims
- The LGBTQ, Hispanic, faith and other communities
- Underlying causes of this tragic event (not related to policy or advocacy)
- Other needs we cannot anticipate until we face them
The City of Orlando will pursue its own strategy to give funds directly to survivors and their families. To support this effort directly visit oneorlando.org.
Links to other non-profit support organizations in Florida:
Our Fund Foundation, a community foundation whose mission is to support South Florida’s LGBTQ agencies. The “Our Fund Foundation” is collecting tax-deductible donations. One hundred percent of the tax-deductible funds raised through Our Fund will be donated to nonprofits in Orlando supporting survivors and victims’ families and friends and their efforts to restore peace, joy and wellness to Orlando’s LGBTQ community. To make a tax-deductible donation through Our Fund, visit https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/OurFund/Orlando.html
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the activation of the Florida Disaster Fund following the terror attack in Orlando. The Florida Disaster Fund will help provide financial support to organizations that serve survivors, their families, and all those in need. To make a contribution, visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org.
The organizations listed above are further highlighted on a blog by Jeff Poulos, Executive Director, Associated Grant Makers, with additional resources and information obtained from social media sites and a “GoFundMe” page listed on Jeff’s blog.
Finally, I encourage readers who are unable to give monetarily to reach out by letter and prayer for the Orlando victims and their families. There are many vigils and events happening across America and around the globe, showing solidarity and support for the victims and their family members. We can each take responsibility to help victims of violence by increasing awareness of their needs and ultimately in doing our part to help, not hide.
Thank you for reading and for taking action.