This Is Us

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"I'm having a hard time reconciling going about my business while knowing there are babies out there that will not remember their parents because they were too young for them to have memories at the time they were stolen." I typed up this status message earlier because, I am without proper words and I don't really give a damn about the clean laundry I just brought in from the garage. Or the stack of mail that needs sorting. As my girl gave me endless hugs before bedtime, I almost lost it. I imagined her being ripped away from my side, her throat hoarse from her screams. I thought of her on a mat on the floor, cold and alone wondering why I hadn't come to get her. 

I imagine the heartbreak and excruciating pain of not having her by my side and having no idea where she had been taken. Of leaving her behind and not knowing if I'd ever see her again.

That's what thousands of children are now experiencing. What mothers now have to live through.

Let's be VERY VERY clear on something. This isn't about upholding a policy. Upholding policy would have those families deported back to their home country, together.

We can talk about what it means to seek asylum later. Because some of y'all also seem to be confused on that one.

There are all kinds of "they shouldn't have come here illegally" comments. People have varying degrees of knowledge on the law but, that's never stopped anyone from jumping on the bandwagon.

What We Know For Sure

This country was built on the cruel practice of tearing families part.

Enslaved mothers were torn from their children at the auction block regularly.

Native American children sent to boarding schools when in fact, they were taken in order to address what back then was referred to as "Indian problem".

THIS. IS. US.

I wanted to think that we had learned, grown, respected and understood history. But that's a whole ass lie!

And a good amount of folks are running around here talmbout "we're better than this!" SINCE WHEN?

When in the fuck did we collectively decide to 1. forget everything we learned or b. not even bothered with the actual history of this country?!

They came here illegally? They aren't "supposed" to be here? Neither were your ancestors and yet they landed on these shores and made themselves right at home!

But okay, let's break that one down, Janet. They came here illegally. They can be sent back, right? What is the purpose of stealing their children (because let's face it, that's what it is) and sending them back alone. There are THOUSANDS of children in custody of the American government at this time because the American government. took. these. kids. away. from. their. parents. Plain and simple.

Oh and for good measure, no one is really keeping track of who is taken from whom. Let that sink in. THERE IS NO PROCESS/PROCEDURE THAT TRACKS ADULTS AND THE CHILDREN THAT ARE TAKEN FROM THEM. Because, as the New Yorker reported, there's no actual plan to reunite these kids with their parents.

Go ahead, tell me about what the bible says about that. I'll hold...

How dare people forget that THIS IS WHO WE ARE. This is the collective EUUUNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Welcome! So glad you could make it. Grab a damn pamphlet and read up on what the fuck your people have been doing since the dawn of time.

I don't want to hear another word about "this isn't us". I don't want to read another comment about people not following the law.

If you think that it's okay for children to be pulled off of a mother while breastfeeding and put in some detention center while the mother gets sent back to the home country she was fleeing from, you have a lot more to think about than your political stance.

Related: allow me to call on all you Christians who have remained quiet during this time. Your church, your pastor, your deacon, the ushers, ERRBODY can go to hell for that one.

I guess we should always remember that no one ever expect the Spanish inquisition, right?

I don't know if we can survive this. I don't know if we can get to the other side of this mountain. I just don't know.

In spite of this crushing feeling in the pit of my stomach, I know we have to keep trying. If for no other reason than to set the example for our children.

Resources

Here's a list of resources you can use to help spread the word. I'll share more as more things get planned and organized. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as I tend to share deets there.  In the meantime, I hope you find this useful.

Blog Posts:

Hashtags: #FamiliesBelongTogether | #ProtectFamilies

Petition Pages: Family Separation Petition (English) | Family Separation Petition (Spanish)

The Gift of Love: Operation Shower

Disclosure: I’m a Pampers Baby Board member. This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are purely my own. It seems like so long ago that I had my baby shower. Probably because it was! Sheesh, over 8 years now. I remember being ridiculously grateful to have had the people around me share in the joy of the birth of the Frog Princess.

I think I’ve said this before but if you’re new, here it is: we had FIVE baby showers! I’ve never felt so loved and so blessed. Having my family around me made a huge difference during that special time.

I was in LOVE with this shower invitation. These were also the colors of the baby room.

Me, at one of my baby showers. I was already on bed rest here but thankfully, my midwife cleared me to go.

This is what I was thinking when I heard about Operation Shower, a non-profit that throws baby showers for expecting moms whose husbands are stationed overseas. How amazing is that?!

Even more amazing? Pampers is donating diapers and wipes to support this great event.

I had a chance to chat with a mom, Alicia, who has been a recipient of one such shower. One of the things that is near and dear to my heart is the telling of our stories. I am a big believer that our stories bring us together no matter our differences.

Alicia is married with 3 boys. She is an LPN at the 56th Medical Group at Luke AFB.  Her husband is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician in the USAF.

Her husband has been stationed at Luke, AFB in AZ for over 7 years.  She says “It is a rare gift to be able to stay in location this long and we are very fortunate. He's been in the military for 8 years and has spent approximately 4 years apart from us due to deployments, trainings and temporary duty assignments.”

I was reminded that it’s not just our service men and women that serve but that their families do as well.

When I asked about Operation Shower she shared:

In 2013, I was pregnant with my youngest son and my husband was scheduled to deploy just 6 weeks after his birth.  I heard about Operation Shower through our local Airman and Family Readiness center and figured it would be something nice to go to. It was their first time here in Arizona and I had no clue what it was going to be like.  When I arrived, I was blown away by how much effort is put into a shower. Everything was perfect! The love they show you and the gifts that Operation Shower obtains from generous donations are phenomenal!  It really makes you feel special knowing there are people out there who truly care about the military community and the unique challenges that come with it.   

 

Later that year, I was contacted by Operation Shower and asked if I could come and speak to the moms at the 2014 Phoenix shower. It was at that shower that I found out how rewarding it is to be on the other side of things. Volunteering at a shower and watching all the deserving families be showered with gifts, is truly one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.  Since then, I am a regular at Operation Shower events that take place here in the Phoenix area. Every year, I help locate moms who meet the criteria to attend a shower and every year I get up on stage, tell them my experience and offer words of encouragement while they go through this challenging time.”

Yeah so…I had some sweaty eyeballs after seeing this project through Alicia’s eyes. Of course, eyeball leakage didn’t stop there.

Me: What do you think this operation brings to moms and families?

Alicia: Beyond the gifts and love they show us, Operation Shower provides a place where military spouses who are pregnant and going through deployments can come together and connect. They provide somewhere that the military moms can form friendships and lean on each other to get through these difficult times. THAT is one of the biggest blessings they can give us! 

Me: What type of impact does a diaper donation have on moms and families?

Alicia: Of course, the gift of diapers from Pampers helps families prepare for their little one, but it isn’t just that. Every single gift from every company is them telling us that they care. Companies have so many things they can get involved in but they choose to support us.  I am truly thankful for Pampers and the support every sponsor gives.

I couldn’t end our interview without asking what Alicia would tell a new mom. I found myself nodding my head in agreement. Her response? “Take lots of pictures! You will never find yourself regretting documenting memories but you may regret not being able to look back and see them.”

Yes to pictures! And speaking of pictures, here are some great images from the event in Connecticut.

You might be asking the same question I did “how can I help?”. The answer is simple: donate! Pampers kicked off donations with Baby Dry diapers and wipes and now it’s your turn. It takes a village, right?

Head on over to Operation Shower and see what baby products you can help with. You know diapers are always a necessity. I always breathed a sigh of relief at my showers when I saw those beautiful yellow and blue boxes! And I’m sure the recipients at Operation Shower do too. So, get to it, people! Is this a great program or what?

For Colored Girls Looking for Hair Products When SheaMoisture Isn't Enough

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Where do we begin? I guess in the middle because we don't have time for in depth history lessons. Yesterday, SheaMoisture dropped an ad that had everyone talking. Black women were outraged. I will say that not all women felt this way.

The layers and depth of this discussion are too much to cover in one blog post. But, let me say this: this country has a history of erasing Black women and if you don't understand what that means you are either 1. not a Black woman or b. have not been taught this history because...see erasure.

For years, SheaMoisture has been a brand focused solely on Black hair. SheaMoisture also picked up an investor in 2015. We cheered it on because hey, growth for a Black business, right?

Personally, I started feeling like it was no longer "my" brand when I attended conferences and noticed there were no products for curly hair. I legit chucked it up to "they're diversifying their brand and bringing something new to the table" which is always a good thing. I'm not knocking their hustle and was really trying to give them the benefit of the doubt.

The problem with the ad is that it showcases 2 white women and a woman of color with curly hair. That's it. They could've showcased one woman with tight/kinky curls, no? But wait, there's more.

The topic? Hair hate. This white woman fixed her face on camera to say she hated being a red head for a long time and decided to go blonde for years. Um...what?!

For women and girls who have experienced threats of expulsions from school, criticism & legal discrimination in the workplace, and more, this ad made no damn sense. Hair hate? How do you even write that out and don't include our darker 4a/b/c sisters in the mix?

And here's where the erasure comes in. For years, Black women have been erased in this country. Out of the history books, out of the wins in activism, hell, out of their own humanity. Now, a company that so many Black women have supported over the years appears to be quietly exiting stage left toward their newfound market of white women.

I watched Dr. Joy DeGruy break this topic down in relation to women's health and breastfeeding (if you don't follow her, do. And get her books). And I got a chance to see my best friend build her dissertation specifically around the topic of hair in women of African descent. The erasure is real. Dr. Rosado's research showed that, solely based on hair (style, texture, etc), women would be categorized as more or less educated, making more or less money and even assigned as Christian or non-Christian. Based. On. Hair. Let that sink in.

Click the image to check out the insightful interview on hair

Fast forward to this ad. I'm not hatin' on SheaMoisture for trying to get their coins. I just wish that they'd included the people that got them here. Dammit, if we are going to go with this everybody gets love then let's show it! I mean, it's great that Becky was hating her red hair and suddenly loves it now that she's found SheaMoisture BUT, how about you talk to that woman that that was told she wasn't beautiful because her hair was kinky or nappy or whatever other word was used (greña is the word used in Dominican Republic)? Can you showcase what got us to this point? What built your company up to what it was at the point in which you acquired an investor? Can we?

Even with all the hair love I give my child, I still battle what she sees outchea in these streets. I work hard to make sure she loves her hair and I'm sorry but the "hair struggle" looks different when your hair is out here looking like every damn model on the newsstand.

The erasure is there. Whether intentional or not. I wish that SM had kept it real, put in some of the sistahs that purchased their product all these years and told all of their friends to buy them. The ones that suddenly can't walk into a SM booth at a conference and find anything for themselves. The ones who bought into the brand with their dollars and loyalty.

And for those that don't get what the big deal is, I invite you to do a gut check in your own communities and circles as I have no doubt you'll find the erasure of Black women such commonplace there, it might not even have registered.

For those of you looking to purchase products now that SheaMoisture isn't enough, I invite you to head on over to my girl Aaronica's page. She's put together a nice list of 9 Natural Hair Products to replace the Shea in your shower.

And for the record, yes, SheaMoisture apologized after the backlash but, I don't think colored girls feel it's enough.

The Morning-After Pill

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You know you have to take it because, well, it's the morning after and mistakes were made last night. But you don't want to. Because you know that taking the pill will solidify what took place. You'll be admitting the mistake. It's not easy walking in to the store, is it? Hanging your head a little. Maybe pulling up your collar or keeping your shades on so as not to be recognized. But you have to do it. You have to roll in to the pharmacy section. But, you're not going to give your position away by just walking to that aisle. Nope.

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You meander in the shampoo section, picking up a bottle and reading ingredients that you give no fux about. You stroll over to the cards and wonder if you should buy one while you're here. You grab one by happenstance and then walk as if you had no purpose but deep down you do.

The aisle is filled with things that you normally buy. Tampons, pads, pantiliners. The regular feminine items that we are already shamed with. You barely look at the package. You barely register that there might be more than one brand. You grab it from your periphery and head to the counter to pay while grabbing another item you don't even need in order to mask the mistake before running to your car.

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You don't take the pill in your car because again, that'd be admitting the mistake, right? Driving home you rationalize it to yourself. What you did. The consequences of your actions. But it's okay! It. Is. Okay. For God's sake! You live in the good ol' U S of A and you can buy this pill. This pill that will take your worries away. That will definitely erase the thing that you did. And no one has to know.


I wonder if that's what 53% of white women are feeling today. How are they justifying giving the Presidency of these United States to a megalomaniac and tyrant who doesn't really care about them? I wonder.

And before you get on your high horse, don't step into my spaces and center yourself by telling me that you didn't vote for him or that you were outchea wearing that pantsuit. Don't.

Here's why: I know some AMAZING white women that have put in blood, sweat and tears for the cause. These women wake up and do the work day in and day out. I'm additionally pissed off on their behalf that they have to now be associated witcho ass for making this happen. Don't center yourself in that argument.

Don't walk into the store (aka social spaces or office) and act like you didn't make that mistake last night. OWN IT. Stand up, sister. You used your voice in a way that you thought needed to be used, right?

Tell me, what are we going to do now? What happens now? How is this resolved?

Because the thing is, that unlike a night of hawt amazing secks, you didn't just get yourself fucked, you got us all fucked right along with you. Minus all the good and amazing feelings that should go along with that. And we can't hide from that as easily as you can disguise yourself in the spaces you occupy.

No, I am not interested in you breaking down the minority vote. I've seen the numbers. I'm interested in you taking this pill this morning, without regret. Tell me why?!

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And you better hurry up because if things go the way that Trump is saying it's going to go, that morning after pill might not be available for much longer.

I'm WitHERed: Election Fatigue and White Privilege

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It's the eve of the election. If you're reading this in the future, "the" election is probably something you know about. Do you need a year? Let's see...it's 2016. We have a talking head from reality TV resembling the color of Fanta that's been left out in the sun too long spewing hate that is too reminiscent of Hitler himself. As Luvvie says, he's basically Hitler's mentee. I mean...y'all! What in the world?!

And yet there's nothing he can say that will turn his supporters away! Walls to keep Mexicans out? No problem. Tracking Muslims in this country? Sure. Grabbing a White woman by the pussy?

Wait. A. Damn. Minute!

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Oh now you want to distance yourself. Chile! I can't. We could peel that onion but it's only gonna make you cry.

As the weeks have gone by, I've felt white women climbing on to that pedestal. Looking forward to winning the White House tomorrow and fully expecting the Black and Brown vote to deliver that into their hands. And yet...I've seen conversations attempting to crush the voices of women of color as they've pointed out the historical facts around the suffragettes and their blatant racism as a reason for why we won't be wearing white.

Instead of listening, we find that, once again, white women are centering themselves in this story and providing all of the tears needed to quench a Florida-day-in-July's thirst.

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This was best illustrated today when Kelly Wickham Hurst (fellow disruptor, badass and professional burner of all the shit that is not serving us) critiqued an article written by the dispenser of previously mentioned white tears. What ensued was the type of erasure, dismissal and butt hurt that I'm afraid we've all grown to know all too well.

But such is life. It's reminiscent of the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen circa 2013.

I'm not happy with this election. Not happy at all. I looked at my options. I thought of the history of elections and most specifically Florida in 2000 (I might still need therapy over that one). And, I specifically thought of the air of fear that mixes in with the humidity here in the south. The one that you can taste, feel and not name.

This election scares the hell out of me. I'm sure a lot of you feel the same but, I don't think it's for the same reason. I'm not worried about what happens on November 8th as much as I am worried about the lingering hate, apathy and cognitive dissonance that has bubbled up over this last year.

My brother texted me the hashtag #ImwitHERed and I thought it was perfection in the face of how I feel. Dare I generalize? How many people of color feel about this election cycle?

Have you ever tried to put boiling water back in the teapot? You can't. It either has evaporated or, if you try to touch it, it will burn. And I'm very worried about who is going to burn as white women wear their white pantsuits in memory of suffragettes that would rather lose limbs than give a person of color the vote, celebrate their victory and forget about the votes that got them there.

But, hasn't that been the general MO? I'm not surprised. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tad bit disappointed.

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*this post contains an affiliate link

On F******g Up Someone's Hair

Friends, can we talk? Like really, really talk. I have to get something off my chest. This week, I had a bit of PTSD after watching a video from the Today Show and a Black woman's hair being molested on national television while folks watched like it was okay. It wasn't. Joeline Payton did us the favor of bringing this injustice to light:

Here is Malyia in all her glory and there's her hair being dismantled in a way that we can only dream that racism will be.

I was on the phone past midnight with my girl Keka talmbout this fuckshit. Excuse my language. You know I don't curse often on the blog but dammit, it is necessary.

Keka and I had a battle of what this was. It went something like:

Me: dis whatchu look like when you go to sleep with no sleep cap, on cotton sheets and get in a night fight with a blind cat. Keka: dis what happens when you lay your hair just right and fight the humidity in the Florida heat of August. Me: dis whatchu get when you have menopausal night sweats and your dog sleeps on your head.

You get the picture, right?

This was beyond disrespectful. Where they do that at and at what point in time did she think "this is a great idea"? I cackled when I read something in the video comments about how this was revenge because a Black woman stole her man. I mean, seriously. I don't wish this on anyone. Okay, I'm lying. I can think of a few people that I've said petty prayers for that equate to this hairstyle.

This video reminded me of an episode I experienced a couple of years back at a blog event that took us to a Dry Bar in Ohio. There we were, after being asked to sit at specific stations. And here comes Marge (I don't remember her name due to the trauma and inability to slap the shit out of her because I'm a professional!). She looks at me and says "you're not supposed to be sitting here".

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What. In. The. Hell?!

She said that because she had no idea what to do with my hair. And here's the thing: had Marge been all "holy shit I'm sorry but I'm not entirely sure what to do with this mane" I would've gotten my ass up or possibly shown her what to do. But she did not. She told me I wasn't supposed to be there.

And this brought out the petty in me. I could have gotten up. But I didn't. I let her attempt to do something with my hair because...why not? I didn't have anywhere to be at the moment and I'd had a glass of wine. So, Marge, let's see what you can do.

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She did not apologize for what she said (and she didn't say it just once). Marge actually left to double check to make sure that I was at the right station. I sipped my wine.

Marge spent the next 30 minutes giving me a bullshit pretend braid while "gushing" about how beautiful my hair was. I let her sit in that discomfort for as long as I could because why not? I did mention it to the PR people that I was working with because while there were only 3 of us in that group with curly hair, I didn't think they needed any more of this business (the shop had been closed exclusively to pamper us and I'm sure it was not cheap).

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Fast forward to this bullshit video. No. I cannot. Let's not do this again. Mmmkay? If you DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS HAIR, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Let's just go with that the next time. Excuse me while I book my appointment with the therapist to review this shit.

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Say Something...

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How many times will you stand by

And watch along as we slowly die

 

What will it take for you to see

That you're not that different from me

 

How many jokes will it truly take

To realize what's at stake

 

What kind of tears shall I dispense

To show you this shit is intense

 

He could be mine, or yours or ours

But he lays dead as his blood sours

Say Something

 

She could've been our little queen

But breath and memory's now unseen

 

How many brethren must die

While you quietly stand aside

 

Fuck your condolences, your fake regard

SAY SOMETHING NOW & help stand guard

 

You bring us words & your broken heart

As our bodies are slowly torn apart

 

Your silence is killing us indeed

While you seep in privilege, we slowly bleed.


This poem was inspired by my friend, Amiyrah Martin, who took to FB Live to courageously show us how she feels. I send her, and all of my friends that feel this way, hugs from afar. I do not have words of comfort.

I don't know what else to do. I don't know what else to say. The tears don't matter. The names don't count. But, we see you Alton. Rest in peace seems like a crock of shit because you would've been just fine without you being killed. I don't know how to make this right. 

Helping In the Midst of the Orlando Massacre

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I'm sharing details from a press release from our friends at GLBT Community Center of Central Florida as well as from posts on the Orlando Health FB page in an effort to compile a list of ways in which you can help during this time.


Victims Family Assistance Center The City of Orlando, in partnership with federal, state, local and community agencies has opened the Family Assistance Center (FAC) to address the immediate needs and provide information, support and resources to those directly affected by the Pulse tragedy. Services will be available to family members of the deceased; those suffering physical and emotional injuries; club staff and patrons and others directly impacted by this tragedy. Click here for more information.

Victims Funds We continue to be humbled by the outpouring of support from within our community and from all around the world. To date we have collected $414,030 in victim relief donations and have received numerous pledges for assistance which are still in the process. The Board of Directors for The Center has pledged and will ensure that 100% of funds collected by The Center for victim relief will be used for the purpose. To that end, we are in discussions with The City of Orlando and Equality Florida regarding options to partner together in order to maximize the assistance to victims but also to be efficient as possible in the administration of these funds. The Board of Directors for The Center take their responsibility over these funds very seriously, and therefore is proceeding diligently to ensure that any such partnership will result in the administration of the victim fund as pledged. The Board knows there is an immediate need for assistance and will work as quickly as it can to begin disbursing these donations to affected parties. Click here if you would like to pledge a donation

Hispanic Service Centers To Open “Proyecto Somos Orlando” Proyecto Somos Orlando will be housed in the same facility as the Hispanic Family Counseling (HFC) building on the culturally competent mental health services and expanding services for the heart of the Hispanic community. HFC in South Orlando falls in the area with the largest Hispanic populations. The center has additional branch offices in Kissimmee, a predominantly Puerto Rican community, to provide crisis counseling for those affected in Osceola County and surrounding areas. HFC is located at 6900 South Orange Blossom Trail Orlando, FL 32809.

Zebra Coalition Continues Crisis Hotline Services The Zebra Coalition Crisis Hotline is available for any member of your community 24/7 throughout the week. Phone: 407-373-8952.

Long Term Mental Health Services In Place For Orlando The Central Florida LGBT organizations have responded effectively to the mental health needs of our community. During the first week following the massacre, we mobilized over 500 counselors to private businesses and organizations, to the memorial on the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center lawn, and to the area LGBT nightclubs. We have done our best to mitigate the initial pain, but we understand the real work of helping our community heal will come in the following weeks, months and even years. As such, we stand ready to meet our community's needs for as long as we are needed. Two Spirit Health Services, a non-profit medical clinic that provides medical and mental health services to the LGBT community in Central Florida, has led the mental health effort and will continue to do so for the long term. We are establishing a permanent drop-in mental health clinic at The Center, where people can come by for counseling and support when they need it, with no appointment required. We are establishing a counseling voucher program, wherein if the existing mental health and medical staff at Two Spirit Health Services are unable to meet an immediate demand, we can provide those seeking help with a service voucher. Affected people can take this voucher to a qualified health professional on our referral list that is vetted for both LGBT cultural competence and trauma. The voucher will be turned in and reimbursed by funds donated to relieve the pain that has wrenched our community. The list will be available on our website.

Orlando Depot and Distribution Center Established We are very proud to announce that a local business has worked with our team to setup a donation depot and distribution center. This will allow us to continue accepting donations at Hope and Help Center of Central Florida and the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, catalog our donations, store them, and distribute them to families in need. Please continue to drop off non-perishable donations to our two sites. We ask that in lieu of perishable donations that you send gift cards or donate directly to one of the online funding sources available. All local non-profit organizations will have information on how to request distribution of resources.

We will have a need for volunteers through the next few weeks to assist us with the collection, recording, and distribution of donations from this new donation center.

Hope and Help Center of Central Florida The Hope and Help Center of Central Florida will begin Mental Health Counseling Services on Monday June 20th, 2016 for the community. We continue to be a drop off location for all donation items. Hope and Help is offering our full services to the community at this time including HIV testing, HIV case management, HIV support groups, and all other services we provide to the Orlando community.

Hope and Help wants to inform you that we also are hosting a full food pantry with groceries available for anyone in need along with sundry items such as toilet paper, shampoo, etc. Please come by if you are in need, or have families affected that can utilize supplies during this crisis.

Referral service for any additional services or needs you may have are available at our location. Hope and Help Center of Central Florida is located at 1935 Woodcrest Winter Park, Florida 32792. Phone: 407-645-2577.

Candlelight Vigil at Lake Eola A Candlelight Vigil has been planned at Lake Eola for Sunday June 19th, 2016 at sunset. Please try to arrive early as a very large turnout is expected. Please use extra caution when attending, as the vigil will be a large gathering in an open public space.


From Orlando Health:

  • Well-wishes and Cards for Orlando Regional Medical Center and the Level One Trauma Center Team Members: to send well-wishes and cards to the trauma team here at Orlando Health, mail them to: Volunteer Services, 1414 Kuhl Avenue, MP #83, Orlando, FL 32806.
  • OneBlood Donations: OneBlood still needs donations but they are asking that you make an appointment online at www.OneBlood.org. There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma.
  • Family Emergency Hotline: 407.246.4357
  • City of Orlando Translation Volunteers: Send an email with subject line “Translation Volunteer” to: info@hispanicchamber.net. Include: name, telephone number and your email address within the body of email.
  • Food, Beverage and Dry Good Donations: Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is collecting dry food and water donations. Call for pick up or deliver to 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL 32805 Monday-Saturday 8-4 pm. http://www.feedhopenow.org.
  • We ask that all inquiries related to volunteers, donations and other in-kind services be directed to CommunityRelations@orlandohealth.com.
  • In addition, two options have been set up for individuals and organizations looking to support Orlando Regional Medical Center and the Level One Trauma Center. Please share the following with friends, family and neighbors who are asking how they can help:
    • Text “Orlando” to 20222 to donate $10 to ORMC’s Level One Trauma Center (the donation will be added to your cell phone carrier bill).
    • Donate online at give.orlandohealth.com/ORMC (monetary donations can be made using a credit card at this website).
  • For additional questions or inquiries regarding monetary donations, please email OrlandoHealthGiving@OrlandoHealth.com or call (321) 841-5194.

I'll update as I find additional details and information

Details of Funerals for Victims of the Orlando Massacre

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Update 6/16/16 6:32 p.m. After trying to follow many posts and leads, I think we finally know at least some of the plans of the Westboro church. While there are no plans that we can find for them to protest the individual funerals (and some families and churches are asking that only those attending the funeral show up at the sites), it seems that Westboro did apply for a permit for Saturday.

Here's some official word from the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida:

COMMUNITY UPDATE: WESTBORO CHURCH HAS APPLIED FOR A PROTEST PERMIT WITH ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT

To Our Community,

It is with great sadness that we have to report that the Westboro Baptist Church has applied for a protest permit with the Orlando Police Department.

The protest permit request is from Saturday June 18th 2016 at 10:15am to Sunday June 19th 2016 at 1:30am at 130 North Magnolia Ave.

We are asking that the community form a counter protest to block out the WBC at this location. Please organize through your counter protest leadership, make sure you have the appropriate permits, and please remember that this organization funds itself by antagonizing grieving communities and subjecting them to hate speech in order to generate lawsuits.

Let’s shower them with our love. We are One Orlando, and we are One Love! We have the ability to counter this hate and show the world once again why we are the City Beautiful and we cannot be broken by hate and those that would challenge our way of life.

Terry DeCarlo Executive Director GLBT Community Center of Central Florida

The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida 946 North Mills Ave Orlando, Florida 32803

Press Release For Immediate Release Orlando, FL : Thursday June 16th, 2016


Original Post:

I shared a post on Facebook yesterday that was shared over and over again. I was added to a group that mentioned the Westboro Church was coming to town to spew their hate at the funerals of the victims of the massacre that took place on Sunday June 12.

This is what I love about social media. Seriously, guys? Over a thousand shares?! THANK YOU!

I'm culling through and trying to compile a list of places and ways in which you can volunteer but I wanted to share this out quickly.

The Westboro Church has stated they were going to come to these funerals and hold up their hateful signs. To that end, a Facebook group was created to get folks to band together and go to these funerals to protect the grieving family and friends from this hateful group.

Here are details of upcoming funerals if you'd like to support. 

Peter Ommy Gonzalez-Cruz Viewing: June 16th 4:00pm - 9:00pm Funeral and internment: June 17th 9:30am - 12:00pm Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home 1413 S Semoran Blvd, Orlando, Florida 32807

Roy Hernandez Viewing: Thursday, June 16, 1p-9pm and Friday, June 17, 1pm to 9pm Funeral and internment: Saturday, June 18 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Hayes Funeral Home 241 O'Brien Road, Casselberry FL 32730

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera Thursday, June 16th, 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. San Juan Funeraria 3189 S John Young Pkwy, Kissimmee, Florida 34746

Rodolfo Ayala Thursday, June 16th, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Loveworks Discovery Church 440 S. Orange Avenue

Luis Vielma Friday, June 17th at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. All Souls Catholic Church 3280 W. 1st Street Sandford, FL Mass will be held on Saturday evening, 6/18 at 4:30 pm, the same location.

Cory Connell Wake: Friday June 17th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Funeral: Saturday, June 18th at 10 a.m. West Orlando Baptist Church 1006 E. Crown Point Road, 34761

Miguel Angel Honorate Funeral: Tuesday, June 21st at 10 a.m. St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church 834 S Orange Blossom Trl, Apopka, Florida 32703

There were about 4 funerals today but they have already passed or are currently happening. I will update as I get details of more funerals. I'm currently trying to gather information for funerals happening out of town.

Please pass this on to anyone who would like to show up and shield the family from this hateful group. I'll also be sharing additional needs as I get word on the Facebook page as it's a quicker call-to-action.

Thank you for all you do for my city and our LGBTQ+ community.

Update: 6/16 3:47 p.m.: I updated the url of the group as the original group was hacked and is out of the originator's control. I didn't want incorrect information going out so, I updated as per the original creator. Side note: sometimes people suck!

Update: 6/16 6:11 p.m.

Christopher "Dru" Leinonen Viewing: Friday, June 17th 12:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home 301 NE Ivanhoe Blvd, Orlando, FL 32804 Funeral: Saturday, June 18th at 11 a.m. St. Luke's Cathedral 130 North Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL 32801

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla Viewing: Thursday, June 16th 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Newcomer Funeral Homes 895 South Goldenrod Road, Orlando, FL 32822 Internment: Friday, June 17th at 10:00 a.m.

Edward Sotomayor Saturday, June 25th at 2 p.m. Robarts Arena 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34237

Juan Rivera & Luis Conde Monday, June 20th 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Funeraria Porta Coeli 2801 E. Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, FL 34743