Pride Week has always been something to look forward to in Toronto. It has been very exciting that it was extended to Canada’s first Pride Month. A rainbow flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill in honour of the occasion. With so many steps taken towards acceptance, we were heartbroken to hear the news of the Orlando shooting.
On Sunday morning, a gunman killed 50 people and wounded 53 others at the influential gay club. It makes it the deadliest mass killing in the U.S. Many organizations have made efforts to support the victims and their families following the situation, which President Obama called "an act of terror and an act of hate."
The pride parade that happens every year in Toronto will be dedicated to the victims of the shooting. There is no reason in the world that makes what happened okay. If you are looking for ways that you can help, here is a list:
If you're not local to the Orlando area, this GoFundMe is raising money. It will go to support the Orlando LGBTQ community with counseling resources, medical bill assistance, staff an emergency hotline, and pay for grief counselors.
Experts recommend that you never give donations via Facebook or Twitter directly. While it's ok to learn about an organization's mission there, always take the extra step to verify where you're sending money.
If you're in the Orlando area, you can give blood. Most local blood banks are overwhelmed with people looking to donate and help, so they are encouraging people to make an appointment and come back later. You can also check-in to see if the blood donation centers that need resources.
Check on friends
No matter where you live, reach out to LGBTQ people you know and check in on them. The Orlando Police have set up a hotline at 407-246-4357 you can call to check on loved ones or first-responders you think may have been at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Support LGBTQ Advocacy
Don’t forget about supporting your local communities and current events involving LGBTQ advocacy. In Toronto, we have Community One.
You can support the Human Rights Campaign to help with its ongoing advocacy efforts for LGBTQ equal rights worldwide.