Love Heals: Reflections on Orlando
Love Heals

Dear Friend,

Back in 2004, when I went through my training to be a Shanti peer support volunteer, one of the highlights of that life-changing experience was hearing Shanti's Founder, Charlie Garfield, address the training group. Of the many moving sentiments he shared about the need and power of compassion that night, the biggest impact was made on me by two simple words:

love heals

This past weekend, Shanti was training another group of future Shanti volunteers, and, again, just like 12 years earlier at my training, I saw the group of current trainees respond and try to grasp the breadth of the simplicity and power of these two words, love heals. When I woke up Sunday morning to the news of the horrific events in Orlando, my head was spinning with disbelief, anger and so many questions. And, as I suspect was the case with many of you, I couldn't help but wonder what could have been done to have prevented this tragedy, and what can be done to prevent the inevitable next one.

For me, the answer to these questions, far too complicated and nuanced for an email like this, has to come back to the essence of this phrase, love heals. What would our society look like if this simple statement of the human condition, that indeed, love heals, was a basic tenet of how we treat one another, raise our children, succeed in our professions and lead our communities?

As I write this, my heart hurts. In particular, my heart hurts right now for all my LGBT friends for the ongoing discrimination and violence they continue to endure; my heart hurts for my Muslim friends as another wave of Islamophobia fueled by prejudice and ignorance rears its ugly head; and my heart hurts for our country that not only finds it acceptable, but actually encourages politicians to take every check possible from the NRA in private, and then – whether through sheer ignorance, blind ambition or both – share post-mass shootings "thoughts and prayers" in public.

These sociological factors, and others, collided in the most heart-breaking of ways at the Pulse nightclub yesterday. And as we all try to work though our despair, shock and anger in the days to come, I hope we all can find the strength to offer each other and ourselves the healing we all need through the love we all hold. In the midst of this tremendous heart-ache, I once again saw how love heals when I joined thousands of San Franciscans for a community vigil and march last night to show solidarity with Orlando. And it's precisely this kind of love and compassion we all need moving forward.

With a heavy heart,

Kaushik Roy

Kaushik Roy
Executive Director


Love heals

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