We may be on the other side of the world, but there are still several ways Australians can help the victims of the horrific mass-shooting in Orlando.
No, we can’t give blood, but we can give our support in other ways, from donating to organisations on the ground in Florida to showing our solidarity with the LGBTI community in the aftermath of America’s deadliest gun attack at the Pulse nightclub, which left 50 dead and 53 injured.
Here’s what you can do today:
1. Donate money to one of these groups.
Equality Florida, a not-for-profit LGBT civil rights organisation, has created a GoFundMe account to raise money for victims’ families. Their initial target of US$500,000 was reached in less than 24 hours. Now they have more than US$2.5 million. They are working with the National Center for Victims of Crime, who offer support to communities affected by mass-casualty events in the form of the National Compassion Fund, to ensure the money is disbursed correctly and quickly.
Global not-for-profit Planting Peace have set up a donations page on CrowdRise. The money they collect will be used to cover victims’ medical bills and funeral costs. They have raised US$48,000 so far.
CrowdRise have also launched a larger relief fund, which will share donations among victims, a variety of groups supporting them as well as those working to address broader issues of inequality and gun safety.
2. Show your support on social media or attend a vigil.
Australians are showing their support for the victims in a number of ways, with vigils being held in capital cities and monuments being lit in rainbow colours.
The website We Are Orlando has a list of events taking place around the world so you can find one local to you.
3. Check in with your LGBTI friends and families.
While this act of violence will make many feel unsafe, it is important to remember it was primarily an attack of hatred and bigotry targeted at the LGBTI community.
A disproportionate number of LGBTI Australians experience poor mental health outcomes as a result of ongoing discrimination.
Pick up the phone, send out a tweet, post on your Facebook wall, remind them they are loved.