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Posts from June 2016

Vigil in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting
By: Beth Hallowell
Published: June 21, 2016

When is a shooting an act of extremism? How about...never?

Last week - while we all mourned the lives lost in Orlando - we also remembered the devastating shooting of nine people at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Our hearts and thoughts are with the people of Charleston, and especially the families of the victims, just as they are with the people of Orlando. To honor their memories, let's stop using the...

By: Layla Razavi
Published: June 20, 2016

I was not looking forward to celebrating World Refugee Day this year. After all, it’s been a devastating year for refugees. Currently, 65 million people around the world are displaced by global conflicts (more than have ever existed in human history); nearly 100,000 of them are unaccompanied children who have made treacherous journeys alone.  

We, the international community, have collectively and systematically failed the world’s refugees (as anyone...

By: Mary Zerkel
Published: June 20, 2016

From prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to survivors of Chicago police torture, sharing our stories can create new narratives around war and violence.

“Where were you on March 20, 2003?,” Aaron Hughes, an Iraq War vet and artist, asks our group. We’re sitting on the floor around a Persian rug while Aaron brews a large pot of fragrant Alwazah tea with cardamom.

Slowly people start to share their memories of that night. Someone remembers watching the events unfold on television in disbelief—images of the first missiles and bombs launched by U....

Pulse vigil in Philadelphia
By: Kay Whitlock
Published: June 15, 2016

It’s the wrong question based on a wrong set of assumptions, and it’s already leading to the wrong responses, responses sure to keep the violence flowing: anti-queer violence, anti-Muslim violence, racist violence. And it’s sucking up all the air in the ether right now.

I’m on the road in Iowa with my partner and members of her family scattering the remains of her parents who both died last year – in an order and with timing we didn’t expect. So memories and grief and powerful love are all in the mix. I’ve not been on social media much and seen literally no TV these few days, so I...

By: Keith Harris
Published: June 15, 2016

The news about the shooting was the first thing I saw when I woke up on Sunday. Someone who is very close to me—someone I actually call my son—had posted about it on Facebook, and I couldn’t believe what was going on.

I’m a native Floridian and lived in Orlando for 10 years, when I was still struggling to accept myself as a gay man. People I know were at Pulse that night. Some of my friends were held hostage. They had to climb through the air conditioning system to get out.

It’s terrifying to think about being in a place that you think is safe—...