[Cross-Post from iHollaback.org] In our pain for Orlando, may we find power: A letter from Executive Director Emily May

Dear Hollaback! Community,

 

I am reaching out today with the heaviest of hearts. The tragedy in Orlando was one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States. It took place on Latinx night at the Pulse, and those we lost were mostly LGBTQ, mostly people of color.

 

We want to be clear: this was not just an act of terror, it was also a hate crime. It was, at its root, a product of homophobic, racist, and transphobic culture that we live in.

 

It’s a culture of hate that we perpetuate everyday when we support laws against gender-inclusive bathrooms, normalize street harassment, and allow gay teens to be bullied in plain sight.  When we refuse to stand up against the daily violence that LGBTQ people face just for being who they are, we create a culture where events like Orlando become inevitable.

 

The horrific events in Orlando bring to the forefront our own experiences of harassment and violence as LGBTQ folks. It can feel like a scab ripping off; it is a wound that never really has a chance to heal.

 

This week, as we heal, reflect, and care for one another — let’s also take this opportunity to turn our pain into power. Join us in sharing your experiences with hate, harassment, or violence towards the LGBTQ community with the hashtag #thehatewefaceiseveryday.

 

Your story could be something that small — like a hateful joke, or a passing comment. Or it could be something much harder — like harassment, intimidation, stalking, or assault. Whatever it is, we’re listening. If you would prefer to be anonymous, you can share your story on our site, or through our free app.

 

As we process this tragedy, our pain runs deep. As we do the critical work of standing up against Islamophobia and fighting for better policies — we too need to do the work of caring for ourselves, and giving our pain space to breathe.

 

Sharing your story is an act of self-care, and in times like these, it is an act of survival. We need to show people what’s wrong so they can see what’s possible.

 

with love and warmth,

Emily May

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Hollaback!

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