On June 12, 2016, Orlando experienced one of the worst mass shootings in American history. All told, 49 lives were taken, 68 individuals were physically injured and countless others were impacted by the tragedy at Pulse nightclub. Most of those victimized identified as LGBTQ+, Latinx and/or Black/African American.
While June 12 represents a tragic day in our history, it also marks a turning point – a moment when the entire Orlando community united with compassion and resiliency to denounce hate and fear and stand up for love, respect and inclusivity. The outpouring of support we received, from across the world, became embedded into our community and the Acts of Love and Kindness movement was born.
Now, each year, we partner with the City of Orlando, Orange County Government and OnePulse Foundation to ensure that everyone affected by the tragedy is honored and remembered while celebrating the spirit of our community through love and kindness. June 12, known as Orlando United Day, is an opportunity to continue the unity that followed the tragedy. Individuals, groups, not-for-profit’s and businesses are encouraged to participate in the Acts of Love and Kindness movement in the 49 days leading up to June 12. You are invited to join in special remembrance events, participate in the 49 Bells ceremony and attend the OnePulse Foundation Remembrance ceremony.
For survivors of the Pulse tragedy and immediate family of victims, the Orlando United Assistance Center continues to offer resources to “aid in [their] physical and emotional healing.” Services provided include: case management, navigation of and connection with community resources, referrals for mental health and counseling services and support in addressing issues such as rent/mortgage assistance, immigration, utility assistance and transportation issues.
Whether here in Central Florida, or around the world, showing love and kindness is something we all have the power to do. All types of services are encouraged, including projects that connect you to ongoing opportunities to volunteer throughout the year, have a lasting impact or build the capacity of an organization to meet community needs. Businesses and not-for-profits can show love by providing free services to those in need, having staff wear rainbow ribbons, adding a sign to a business showing it is a safe place for LGBTQ+ individuals and more. Groups and individuals can show love by talking to a stranger, giving free hugs, holding the door open for a few people, paying for the person in the drive-thru behind you, leaving letters of encouragement on people’s cars and more.
Thank you for your consideration in helping grow this movement.
ACT. Do something to help others in our community. This could be volunteering for a nonprofit or simply doing something nice for someone with the intention of showing love and kindness. You can also host a virtual remembrance event to honor those taken on June 12th and share space with community. There is no cost to participate or volunteer.
LOVE. Spread the love by sharing your stories, photos and videos of why you Act, Love, or Give on social media using the hashtag #ActLoveGive. Our signature #ActLoveGive photo cards are also available in the #ActLoveGive Toolkit – simply download, write in with whatever compels YOU to Act, Love or Give and share with whomever you see fit.
GIVE. This year, we are spotlighting the response to COVID-19 and encouraging donations to organizations providing support to those in our local communities. This could be donating to a food pantry, making/distributing masks or giving to the Central Florida LGBTQ+ Relief Fund that supports our most vulnerable. What matters is that you are sharing what you can with a cause that is meaningful to you.
Acts of Love & KindnessActs of love and kindness from across the nation and beyond have showered our community since that fateful day in June of 2016. We continue to encourage expressions of compassion and unity through the #ActLoveGive movement. Beginning each year on April 25th and culminating on June 12th, now known as #OrlandoUnitedDay, these 49 days are dedicated to honoring the 49 lives taken at Pulse while showing love to their family members, the survivors, the first responders, and all who were affected by the tragedy.