Orlando's Shots Heard Around The World

Orlando's Shots Heard Around The World

Remembering the Victims of the Orlando Shooting
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Five years ago I came out as being gay.

Coming out was one of the scariest things I have ever done. Being openly gay in a world that consistently spews hatred is terrifying. After coming out, I was instantly embraced by the LGBTQ community. I was shown pride, love, and immense acceptance. Tonight, I mourn for the LGBTQ community, who I've come to call my family. Tonight my heart is shattered, my world is shaken. I am still trying to swallow this truth. Tonight I mourn, but I refuse to look away.

At approximately 2:00 am on Sunday, June 12, 2016, twenty-nine year old American-born Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse Night Club and opened fire with a loaded assault rifle and pistol. The Pulse was known as a "Lifeline for Florida's LGBTQ community", providing a safe place to be open, free, and have a good time. This place of refuge from the difficulties of every day life was torn apart by gun violence. Fifty innocent lives have been taken, and at least fifty more are currently in critical condition. The number of lives that this tragedy will take is innumerable.

This is not about the shooter. This is about the strength of the LGBTQ community to consistently stand up in the face of tragedy and choose to spread love. This love is stronger than any bullet and any gun.

Since same-sex marriage was declared a national freedom in 2015, many believe that the LGBTQ community is finally equal. We can marry our partners, but we continue to live in fear that they will be taken away by senseless acts of violence. While laws may have changed, hatred and discrimination are still extremely prevalent. When you pair deeply-rooted sexual orientation discrimination with high-caliber assault weapons we see what we have seen today in Orlando: devastation. We are not fully free, we are not fully equal. We still live in fear of hate crimes and violence. We still live in fear.

Despite this, what I have learned from being a part of the LGBTQ community is that hatred is not stronger than love. Love always wins, love always hopes. We must not ever let our fears and their cruelty deter our pride. We must never allow them to penetrate our joy. We must show hope, pride, courage, and love in the face of great adversity- in the face of great pain.

The words of Anne Frank are used often in times of great loss, but I still believe them to be true. "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart." There is too much pride and love in this world to be overcome by hate.

We must celebrate the beautiful, courageous lives of those who we lost, of those who are still fighting, and of those whose spirits are currently broken and finding repair. It is incredibly difficult to know that the worst mass shooting in American history was targeted towards a community based on love and acceptance. However, if ANY group of people is able to continue in the face of incredible strife- it is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

The shots of the gunman were heard around the world- and the world is responding with an outpouring of love and knowledge that OUR FIGHT IS NOT OVER. We will continue to fight until discrimination and hatred over simply being free and expressing love is abolished.

Love cannot be killed. Love always wins. Never will the fallen be forgotten.

The following are the names and photographs of known, identified victims. This list will be updated as more information continues to come out.

In Memory


Stanley Manolo Almodovar III. 23. Pharmacy Technician from Springfield, MA.


Edward Sotomayor Jr. 34. National Brand Manager of Al and Chuck Travel Company.

Juan Ramon Guerrero. 22 years old.

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera. 36. Originally from Puerto Rico.

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz. Originally from Benoni, South Africa. Worked for UPS.

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. 20. Loved to dance.


Luis Vielma. 22 years old.

Kimberly "KJ" Morris. 37. Originally from Connecticut, living in Orlando.

If you wish to help support the victims of this attack- here's what you can do:

1. Donate blood - NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY!


2. Donate Funds- Click here to donate

3. Volunteer with Organizations- The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida, The New York City Anti-Violence Project, Trevor Project

4. Advocate Against Gun Violence -

5. Reach out to your friends, family, and loved ones in the LGBTQ community- Stay safe. Take the time to care for your mental health and physical well being in this time of great, great sorrow.

"And all they know of hate, is that it couldn't beat the love out of me" - Andrea Gibson




Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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The Real Reason For The U.S. State Of Emergency

Everyone thinks they know why President Donald Trump is declaring a state, but what is Trump ACTUALLY going to do with that funding?

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Our president recently declared a state of emergency to create a wall. The Democrats were not giving him the money he wanted, and now he has gone around normal judiciary means to give him the money he desires. He has done this without the approval from almost everyone else in Washington DC. This wall will now cost the US eight billion dollars, a government shutdown where thousands of people were out of work, an intensified divide between the Democrats and Republicans, and way too much paperwork.

There is a lot of speculation as to why he would want to build this wall. From preventing illegal immigrants, to stopping rapists, to protecting the jobs of real Americans, everyone has their theories, but I think I've figured it out. The real reason Trump wants to create a wall because the US has a crush on China. It may sound crazy and it may even sound like it doesn't make sense but if we compare a classic schoolboy crush to the recent policies between the US and China, the similarities are uncanny.

We'll take his desire to build a wall. When you think about countries with great walls, what do you think? The Great Wall of China? Most people would. But if the US creates a huge wall between the southern US border and Mexico, most people will start to consider the "Great Wall" to be the one in the US. When a little boy has a crush on a little girl, he wants her to notice him. Often he'll start to get involved in things she's interested in or good at. In this case, Trump considered everything he knew about China and decided on the wall. The little boy will try to show off by trying to be the best at the thing the little girl is good at, even if it means being better than her. Trump is creating this wall to be "huge" and is likely trying to outdo the Great Wall in China. Just like the little boy, Trump does whatever he can to get the little girl's attention. Even if it means doing things he shouldn't.

Which is when we come to him declaring the state of emergency. After the government finally opened, US President Trump declared a state of emergency. This means that if there is something like war, a viral outbreak, or an economic crisis then the government would have to deal with that urgency. Currently, the US is suffering from those three things. First, the US is still stationing troops in the Middle East. Second, the measles outbreak is spreading across the nation. And third, the US is in a bit of an economic crisis after our government shutdown and our trade-war with China. But just like the little boy, important things like homework, chores and walking the dog are ignored. Instead of pulling troops out of the Middle East, preventing kids from not getting vaccinated, or mending ties with our foreign trading partners, Trump is focused on the wall. His view of an emergency is bettering the Great Wall of China. He's just trying to get the girl.

This state of emergency was brought on because the Democrats would not give Trump the full amount to build his border wall. This is similar to when the little boy asks the little girl's friends to help him impress the little girl; they promise to help, but they don't want to go along with every part of his extensive plan. In Trump's case, the plan the Democrats agreed to was just over one billion dollars, but that was far too short of the five billion dollars the president sought to fulfill, so he ditched their plan. And when the little boy goes off on his own and attempts to execute the plan, which results in him ultimately failing, Trump does the same thing. He went around the law and declared a state of emergency to gain an additional six billion dollars to fund his wall, with more money than originally needed. And while he has not failed yet, 16 states are in the process of suing President Trump for his misuse of the state of emergency.

The little boy went against the wishes of his friends and the little girl's friends just to impress her. No matter what other Republicans said or what Democrats said, Trump was determined to have this wall. He even defied those who were looking out for his best interest. Even the little boy's best friend, or in Trump's case Mitch McConnell, warned him against doing these crazy things to get the girl's attention, but Trump did it anyway.

But during all of this what the boy is not considering are the little girl's feelings. In an attempt to get noticed by the little girl, he has forced her away and caused her to hate him. But once the little boy realizes that the little girl does not like him, he has two options: stop trying to outdo her and try to be her friend or go through her best friend to try to get the little girl's best friend to tell her how amazing the little boy is. Which is why the US is having peace talks with North Korea.

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