Orlando. A place I call home. A city where I moved to, fresh out of high school and ready to pursue my education. A place where I attained my bachelors and masters degree here.
Orlando; a place that is synonymous to beautiful, a place that's magical and Where Dreams Come True. It's a place where things outside of tourist attractions exist; there are nightclubs, and indie theatres, and local shops like Colonial photo and hobby or Dandelion cafe. Orlando is a place that accepts people for who they love; it's a county that doesn’t judge. We aren't perfect, though--Orlando residents will definitely not talk to strangers, and if you try you’ll definitely give yourself away as a tourist.
However, since the unspeakable tragedy that occurred at Pulse nightclub, Orlando has shown it’s true colors. 49 individuals went out to celebrate themselves in a safe space, listening to music that reflected their cultures, drinking and laughing and having a grand time---but they never made it back home.
Orlando isn't just the purple of its sports teams; Orlando is a rainbow. Diversity oozes from the cracks in the sidewalks, wafts into the streets from the local restaurants, and exists in every person that lives within its borders. It is sad that anyone would want to target any part of the Orlando community, but to target Orlando's LGBT community was homophobic and tragic.
Orlando is a melting pot of different cultures and different people. Maybe no one is born in Orlando, we are made into who we are when we get here. We migrate and become who we want to be. This tragedy shows how strong our community is in that we have all come together to mourn our losses and celebrate the lives of the fallen.
I am proud to call Orlando my home. No act of hate will ever erase the love that has unfolded in these streets. Love will always win, and Orlando will always be the city that beats with one pulse.