This past Sunday, many of us woke to deeply alarming and saddening news: The night prior, 49 people were killed at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando.
49 people dead, another 53 injured. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
As the search for answers began, so did an outpouring of love and support from all over the world. Support for the LGBTQ community, for the Latinx community, for victims and survivors, for their families. So many – individuals, organizations, activist groups, politicians, celebrities alike – stood in solidarity with Orlando, donating blood, making statements of support, and finding other ways to take action.
While we absolutely believe that words hold power in the face of such tragedy, many members of these communities needed more immediate and tangible support. In response to their needs, several businesses and corporations stepped up – here’s what they did:
On Tuesday, The Walt Disney Company announced it would donate $1 million to support victims, survivors, and their families by way of the city’s newly set up, OneOrlando Fund. The fund will support non-profit organizations that focus on the needs of those affected by the massacre, both immediate and longer-term. Disney is also offering accommodations to victims’ loved ones, as needed. Lastly, in addition to this direct support, Disney will match employee donations dollar for dollar, and also set up blood donation centers across their Orlando resort property, so as to facilitate easy donation.
A restaurant chain well-known for its leadership’s opposition to same-sex marriage, Chick-fil-A’s response surprised us in a good way last weekend. The chain’s longstanding policy is to close on Sundays for religious reasons, but last Sunday, one restaurant near Orlando chose to overrule that policy. Employees came in to the restaurant to make and deliver food and drinks to the local blood bank where residents were encouraged to donate blood for survivors. In a Facebook post that day, the restaurant said “We love our city and love the people in our community. #prayfororlando.”
Following this tragedy, it may have been difficult (or even impossible) for victims’ loved ones to make their way to Orlando at such a crucial time. Fortunately, JetBlue has offered support by way of free seats on flights to and from Orlando for all immediate family members and domestic partners. In addition, the airline waived fees normally associated with making last-minute changes to travel plans for those who needed to make them. The company also donated $100,000 to the OneOrlando Fund, and encouraged their crewmembers to do the same by establishing a crewmember donation channel on the fund’s website.
Note: Allegiant Air has also offered to help the families and friends of those affected by the shooting, encouraging those who need assistance to contact them to make arrangements.
- Many local businesses also stepped up to show their support in the hours and days after the shooting. To name just a few:
- Local eatery Sus Hi Eatstation will donate 100% of its proceeds through June 18th to Equality Florida’s GoFundMe account.
- The city of Orlando will provide free cemetery plots to victims, as needed.
- Florida Hospital Church is offering free funeral services to victims’ families.
Do you know of other businesses that have stepped up to provide support, or responded in another meaningful way? Share with us in the comments below, or connect with us on social – we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.
As for us as individuals, here’s what we can do to take action in response to this unconscionable attack on the LGBTQ community:
- Donate blood: Find out where you can do so here
- Donate money: Equality Florida’s GoFundMe supports services for victims and their families
- Attend a vigil: Find out where one will be held near you here
- Inform yourself: Find out if your representatives accepted campaign contributions from the NRA here
- Speak up: Call Congress to demand action on gun violence
Every single voice and every single action makes an impact. #WeStandWithOrlando