In life, we often define ourselves by what makes us different. I for one, am a Hispanic male, who plays tons of videogames, keeps up with all things related to Florida State football, and the occasional horror movie. My roommate on the other hand, is a Caucasian female that hates sports, never watches movies and can’t win at any video game that I play against her in. Both of us no less were taken aback by the recent tragedy at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, Pulse. Hearing the stories of lost children, siblings, and lovers reminds us all of situations when we lost someone special to us and the pain we had to go through during those times. Times like this help remind us of how similar we are, despite how much we try to tell ourselves that we aren’t.
I took part in a candle light vigil for those lost in the shooting. The vigil was supposed to take place in front of the Florida Capital building, but was later moved to First Presbyterian Church due to weather concerns. Despite this quick change in location, all of the seating was taken before the event began. People were standing in the balconies, sitting in the aisle – a few couldn’t even fit into the room. With the room filled and heating up, we began with an introduction by Pastor Copeland. In it he discussed how the church had been built using slave labor and slaves were forced to partake in church services from the second floor pews while there masters got to partake from the ground level, and he said that the church needed to repent for that. As I partook in this event today, I looked up and saw Caucasians, Africans, homosexuals, straight couple, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and children all sitting side by side. The event saw speakers from all different groups representing LGBT communities, the City of Tallahassee, and the Muslim community who were all greatly affected this unspeakable act. I saw the unity that Pastor Copeland so desired in his church. The same unity we desire for our community.
At the end of the event, we lit up our candles as the names of the recently deceased were read off. You could hear the sniffles of people trying not to cry. The sounds of those who remember the family and friends they lost, and how they are reminded of how much they love the people they still have. In an instant, we all blew out our candles. With that, it was over. We all got up from our pews, walked outside, went to our cars and were immediately placed back into our regular lives.
Often times, when we think of humanity, we think about all the horrors we have caused as a species. From global warming to mass genocide, we seem to often times be focused on the worst man has to offer. But I dare say, that from the mass turn-out from this event, that there is more good in man than evil. One man started this tragedy, but far more have come in support of all those effected. While we often times get fixated on the negative, I ask that we all try to look at the positives in the world and all the acts of generosity and kindness most humans bestow on to others. Let’s all try to remember that while we all have ways that were different from each other, every human being on this planet is the same in just as many ways.
By NICHOLAS VASQUEZ / Contributing Writer