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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

What do we do when horrible things happen? A tragedy like what happened at Orlando’s LGBTQ Pulse nightclub is so devastating and beyond comprehension that it rattles the mind and shakes us to our core. Maybe you’re filled with anger and outrage, deep sadness, and fear, or perhaps you’re numb or still processing it all. We all have different feelings and reactions to traumatic events, and all of them are valid. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do.

I’ve talked with many folks who want to turn their fear and anger into action. You might be feeling helpless and thinking, “I’m just one person. What can I possibly do?” In a word, love. In overwhelming times like these, it’s important to remember that love is an action.

Person with long hair putting their arm around a person's shoulder short hairWhat does love in action look like? It looks like holding space for one another. Holding space simply means allowing someone to grieve, process feelings, or simply just being in the present moment with them. We must grieve in order to heal, and supporting each other in ways that we are able to promotes the healing process.

Show up for one another. Say hello, offer hugs, and remind one another to breathe deeply and slowly. If you are a straight ally, here is a great list of ways to support your LGBTQ friends and family.

No matter where we live, how we identify, or what our life experiences, we are all connected and impacted by traumatic events. What affects one of us, affects all of us, and it is our humanity that unites us.

If you are experiencing severe emotional or physical reactions to this or other traumatic events, be sure to contact a healthcare provider. If you live in Massachusetts, Emergency Services Programs provide behavioral health crisis assessment, intervention and stabilization services, 24 hours per day/7 days per week/365 days per year.l

Written By:


Community Suicide Prevention Coordinator

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