Monday, June 13, 2016

Coping with Helplessness - What You Can Do




All but one victim has been identified and authorities are notifying next of kin. Facebook/Twitter/Orlando Sentinel

How to Help Orlando Shooting Victims and Their Families

Gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

The Huffington Post  06/13/2016   Sarah Grossman   Editorial Fellow, The Huffington Post

A host of organizations have stepped up to help following the mass shooting on Sunday morning, in which a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others at an influential gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Police fatally shot the suspect.

Local and national organizations have mobilized to support the victims and their families following the tragedy, which President Obama called “an act of terror and an act of hate.”

“We will not give in to fear or turn against each other,” President Obama said, as he publicly addressed the nation Sunday. “Instead, we will stand united as Americans.”

As officials piece together the facts and the LGBTQ community — along with the entire nation — mourns those lost, here’s how you can help:

Support Victims And Their Families

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


Local LGBT civil rights organization Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page to support the Pulse nightclub shooting victims and their families. More than $1.7 million has already been donated as of Monday afternoon. Donate here.

LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit Planting Peace has launched a CrowdRise campaign to help cover the victims’ medical costs, as well as funeral costs. Donate here.

CrowdRise has also launched a larger relief fund supporting a number of charitable causes, both those helping the victims of the Orlando shooting, as well as those working long-term to address issues of inequality and gun safety. Donate here.

A variety of local Central Florida LGBT organizations have partnered to run an emergency hotline and grief counselors at the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida. They have also set up a GoFundMe page, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Orlando shooting victims and their families. Donate here.

Support LGBTQ Advocacy Efforts Worldwide 

STRINGER Mexico / Reuters

Because this tragic shooting shows yet again that the fight against homophobia is far from over, you can support the Human Rights Campaign to help with its ongoing advocacy efforts for LGBTQ equal rights worldwide.

Offer your support here.

Help End The Ban On Sexually Active Gay Men Donating Blood 

Carlo Allegri / Reuters

After the shooting, many local gay and bisexual men wanted to give blood to help the victims — but they couldn’t. According to a decades-old Food and Drug Administration policy, any man who has had sex with another man in the past year is legally banned from giving blood. After the attack on Sunday, a WhiteHouse.gov petition was started calling for an end to the FDA ban.

Sign the petition here.

If You’re Local, Give Blood  

Steve Nesius / Reuters

After the shooting, hundreds lined up to give blood at a local center near the hospital where the victims were taken.

Florida blood center OneBlood continues to ask for blood donations in the coming days — specifically from O-negative, O-positive and AB donors. The center is currently open, and you can find your local blood center or donation bus here.

“Thousands of people packed our donor centers and blood drives eager to donate,” OneBlood wrote on its site Sunday. “Your immediate response to help patients in need was unprecedented and remarkable. We also want to thank all the people who showed up at our locations with food and water for donors.”

To make an appointment to give blood, click here, or call 1.888.9-DONATE.

Work to End Gun Violence   

The Washington Post via Getty Images

Everytown for Gun Safety advocates for an end to gun violence, and relies on the testimonies of survivors to partake in meaningful campaigns and address public officials to help foster change.

Find out more about Everytown for Gun Safety here.

Stand Together To Show That #WeAreOrlando   

ASSOCIATED PRESS

As people across the country and the world woke up to the tragic news Sunday, they gathered together in community vigils to honor the victims and their families. From Orlando to New York to Rome, people stood together, hugged, sang, lit candles and left flowers in the name of those lost.

To find a vigil near you, visit weareorlando.org, with a growing list of local events.

Reach Out If You Need Support 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The LGBT community at large is still reeling from the attack. If you need support, or just someone to talk to, dial any of the national and local hotlines below.

The local GLBT Center of Central Florida has a crisis hotline set up in the aftermath of the attack. Call if you need a shoulder to lean on: 407-227-1446.

The Trevor Project Hotline is always available for LGBTQ youth, and is open to anyone in need of support at this time. You can call them at 866-488-7386.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is here to help. Just call: 800-273-8255.

The National GLBT Center has a national hotline, a youth talk-line and an online peer-support chat. For the national hotline, dial 888-843-4564.

Locate A Missing Loved One    

Adrees Latif / Reuters

Facebook has set up a check-in page for those who live in the area, so they can tell loved ones the world over whether they are safe. You can also call the Orlando Mass Shooting Family Hotline at 407-246-4357 if you still haven’t located someone who may have been at the Pulse nightclub on Sunday.

If your loved one was near the shooting and is still missing, dial 407-246-4357.

Support Nonprofits Helping Victims’ Pets 

SANDY HUFFAKER via Getty Images

Organizations in Orlando have stepped up to help care for the pets of the shooting victims, or of any community members who will be out of the house supporting family and friends. For instance, the Pet Alliance Of Greater Orlando is offering short-term care, or permanent placement, for any pets that have been affected by the shooting. To arrange for pet care with the Alliance, call 407-418-0906.

To see a full list of local organizations who are providing pet care, click here.

CrowdRise has listed a number of ways to help. Donate HERE through the widget at the bottom of the page.  

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