On Tuesday evening I went to St. Jude MCC dressed like a pastor(this is rare). By dressed as a pastor, I mean I had a purple shirt with the God collar in it, jeans and Toms. I dressed like a pastor because so many people assume that Christians, in particular black Christians are homophobic. I am not, I work for the church and I wanted to show that in my dress and my actions. Turns out when you dress the part, you sometimes get to help with things. I ended up reading the names of 10 of my brothers and sisters who lost their lives early Sunday morning. As part of the service, people got to speak about their feelings. The first couple were two lesbians from Orlando who were vacationing in Wilmington, and renting not to far from the church. They said 30, 40, 50 years ago, "That could have been us". Another person spoke out, a young person who presented as female and said "I haven't been to church in 10 years....some of these people may have been outted in death." Many more people spoke, we rang our collective hands, we prayed. I mean after all it is a vigil. Every few weeks my "friends" and friends on social media post some scripture on our collective statuses and proclaim that "our thoughts and prayers are with (insert horrible tragic location here). I believe in prayer and. Prayer changes us, transforms us, moves us to action. Both faith and love are in my mind verbs, so we don't just pray we pray and... We pray and sign petitions, We pray and protest, We pray and donate money. We pray and do.
Many people spoke about how it "could have been me". I couldn't sleep that night because it could have been me and it is me. I identify as cisgendered female, a person of color and straight but, I have gone to LGBTQI clubs(Pulse/Orlando), I typically go to big blockbuster premieres on the midnight showing (Aurora), I substitute teach all ages including 1st graders (Sandy Hook), I am a pastor of a predominatley black church who has midweek program (Mother Emanuel). It could have been me on a practical level because of spaces I frequent but, it is me. If we are One, than when you murder my 6 year old sister in CT, and my 33 year old brother in Orlando, and my grandmother in Charleston. You murder me. We are God's children not because we accept the invitation to be but because it is so. I am on Team Jesus. So my faith says that Jesus saves independent of whether we believe it. We are either God's children or we are not, We are either One or we are not. So Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old, Amanda Alvear, 25 years old,Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old,Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old,Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old,Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old,Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old,Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old,Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old,Cory James Connell, 21 years old,Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old,Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old,Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old,Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old,Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old,Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old,Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old,Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old,Frank Hernandez, 27 years old,Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old,Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years oldJason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old,Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old,Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old,Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old, Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old,Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old,Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old,Kimberly Morris, 37 years old,Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old,Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old,Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old,Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old,Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old,Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old,Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old,Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old,Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old,Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old,Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old, Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old,Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old,Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old,Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old,Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old,Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old,Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old,Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old,Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old are me and I am them.
In Lilo and Stitch, one of my favorite quotes is when Lilo tells her sister that Stitch is family. She says, "What about Ohana, Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten". I must remember Ohana, live Ohana, pray and...
I'm tired of hatred and violence and the fallacy of disbelief that "I can't believe we live in a word where X happens". We live in that world. We are Orlando. We are San Bernadino. We are Nigeria. We are Sandy Hook. We are Brussels. We are Paris. I'm tired of every time someone shows compassion, sympa/empathy(always confuse the 2), we ask them on social media, "Why weren't you crying/doing the routine of concern when this happens?. I rarely blog and am apprehensive about sharing it because i may not talk about Boko Haram, or the next mass shooting, or the next egregious act and people might troll me with "Well what about". I'm tired of being angry, of hurting. In the words of Sojourner Truth, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Ohana. Orlando. Ohana. America. Ohana.The World. Pray and Ohana.
Just some thouhgts.