WHAT HAPPENS NOW? After orlando, how do we continue as a family?

I spent a lot of time enjoying Albuquerque Pride this weekend. My friends and I went to the parade, we saw drag shows, we had lunch together, and we went dancing. Just like thousands of our family members and allies went dancing. But some of us didn't come home after the club. Some of us didn't pile into the car with our best friends to make a late-night Taco Bell run. Some of us never got to say, "I love you" one last time.

Albuquerque 40th Anniversary Pride Parade, 2016

Part of our family is gone. Forever.

When we are faced with adversity, we are also faced with a choice. We can collapse under fear and hate. Or we can thrive.

After the candlelight vigil at Morningside Park, my friends and I went out again, still in shock. It could have been us. It was us.

We were all silent for a while. And finally one of them said, "I don't want to go out for Pride next year. I don't know if I should flaunt it that much anymore."

And I understood his fear. Because I feel it in myself. We have spent so much time gathering the courage to come out of the closet, learning to accept and love ourselves, only to be forced back into it. As a community, having one of our safe spaces violated in such a violent way is devastating. Acts like these and resulting media manipulation force a tremendous amount of fear upon us. Not just the LGBTQI+ community, but the Latinx community, the Muslim community, all of us as Americans are manipulated by this fear.

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But this is exactly what LGBTQI+ Pride is about. We should never have to be afraid to be exactly who we are.

Albuquerque 40th Anniversary Pride

When we are faced with adversity, we are also faced with a choice. We can collapse under fear and hate. Or we can thrive.

In our friends and our passion for life, we have the strength to accomplish more than anyone thought we were capable of, more than we expected from ourselves. In the face of hate and bigotry and fear, we will rise again, as one nation. We will overcome this darkness in rememberance of the fallen, and in the hope we have for our future.

Use your light to fight the darkness. Try to enact real, effective change where you can. Make your world a better one to live in. Have such a positive effect on the lives of those around you that the room lights up when you enter.

And most importantly, never be afraid to be yourself. We are all proud of you.

-Tori

Created By
Tori Cárdenas
Appreciate
Photos by Tori Cárdenas cardenaspoetry.wordpress.com

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