new birdHi everyone. I usually like to come chat with you from a place of happiness (dare I say “joyfulness”), but as with many of you, I have a heavy heart in the wake of yesterday’s devastating slaughter of so many people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Even as I began to hear the news reports yesterday, I found it hard to wrap my head around this tragedy. It just seemed so big, so impossible to really grasp. Especially because I was out for the day at an amusement park with my girls and had little social media time. So while I got bits and pieces of the story, it wasn’t until I got home late yesterday that I began to be able to really read the articles and get online (which is why my Coming This Week post yesterday was full of cheerful chatter, as I hadn’t heard about the shooting when I scheduled it to go to post on Saturday night).

The story really hit home most to me last night when I found an article that listed the names, pictures, and a bit of information about each of the victims. I was determined to read it all, but honestly I found it hard to even get through a handful. All I could think about was the tragic loss of life, the number of people needlessly slaughtered by hate. But I am determined to read it all. I feel like it is the least I can do for the victims.

I am sure many of you share my sense of impotence at wanting to do SOMETHING but not quite sure what. Well, one thing I will encourage everyone to consider is making a donation to the Pulse Victims Fund, a gofundme account set up to support the victims of the shooting. It is being managed by Equality Florida, the state’s LGBT civil rights organization and they are working with the National Center for Victims of Crime to help deploy the funds. I have made a donation myself, and it seems as if this is the central point for fund raising efforts. If this isn’t your charity of choice, however, there are lots of other wonderful organizations to consider.

In the Judaism, there is symbolism put on the number 18. The Hebrew word for “life” is “chai” and the letters in the word represent the 8th and 10th letters in the Hebrew alphabet. It is traditional when giving gifts and making donations to give a denomination of $18 to symbolize life. To me this seems like the perfect sentiment today when making my own donation, and I hope some of you will consider it if you make your own donations.

On a more positive note, today I wore my NOH8 t-shirt. It was the tiniest of statements, but it made me feel like I was doing a little something to show my support. My heart was warmed by how many strangers came up to me and told me they liked my shirt. Sometimes I feel like my view of the world and public opinion is skewed by how much time I spend in gay romance land with such like minded people. So it made me feel a teensy bit better to know that they are folks out there in my day to day life who share my feelings and believe in equality just like we all do.

Anyway, I am having trouble with enough words to articulate the pain and sadness I feel, but I wanted to share some thoughts with you all. Feel free to comment below if you want to share your own thoughts, or if you have other organizations to suggest supporting.

Love for all of you!

jay signature

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