One year ago 49 human beings were murdered and another 50 injured in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history in Orlando, Fla. In the wake of this senseless atrocity I struggled with a sense of despair, questioning whether anything can be done to overcome the ignorance and fear that fuels hatred that ignites such acts of violence. This has happened time and time again, notably at Virginia Tech (32 killed, 17 injured), Sandy Hook (26 killed, 1 injured) and Columbine (13 killed, 24 injured).

Guided by the words of Joan Baez: “Action is the antidote to despair.” I vowed to work harder to transform hatred and violence by taking these actions:

I will not willingly support any group or organization whose culture stigmatizes, marginalizes, devalues or discriminates against any other group or person. I will actively support effective, passable legislation that can reduce gun violence. I will become more active in groups and causes, local and beyond, that work to eliminate hatred, discrimination and divisiveness.

I will carefully look at my own prejudices, both explicit and implicit, and work to overcome them. I will acknowledge and speak affirmatively to at least one person every day who has been stigmatized, marginalized, devalued, or discriminated against. I will engage in intentional act of kindness every day.

On the first anniversary of Orlando massacre, I will renew my vow. Please consider what you can do to make a difference.

Don Taylor, Bloomington 

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