Julio Marcial is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation where he currently manages grantmaking related to promoting violence prevention, strengthening the nonprofit and philanthropic sector and promoting innovation.
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Reflections by Cal Wellness Program Director Julio Marcial
For me, Sunday and Monday were a flood of information and emotions. Even today as I scroll through my social media feeds and my email inbox, I feel angry, frustrated and overwhelmingly sad.
The harsh reality: Sunday’s shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which killed at least 49 people and injured 53 others, is only the latest mass shooting in a two-week outbreak of gun violence across the nation. Whether the Orlando nightclub shooting is officially labeled a hate crime or not, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has suffered an undeserved abhorrent blow.
Here in California, during the same weekend as the Orlando tragedy, seven people died and at least five others were injured over a 24-hour period in South Los Angeles. These tragedies come on the heels of another recent tragedy in Los Angeles at the University of California, Los Angeles, where two men were killed in a murder-suicide at an engineering building on campus.
I’m alarmed to think that we as a nation have become so desensitized to everyday gun violence that we’re no longer outraged unless it’s on the scale of the mass shootings in Orlando or Columbine or Newtown or San Bernardino. Every single life lost to gun violence is one too many.
It may be easy to think that gun violence doesn’t involve us or that we can avoid it because of who we are or where we live, but none of us can afford to ignore the seriousness of the issue. Each of us needs to find a way to identify with the problem of gun violence. Distancing ourselves from it or withdrawing from conversations about how to address it will not solve the problem. If you have any doubts, ask the families of the men, women and children who have been killed by guns these past few weeks.
Whether the incident is an act of hate, appears to be random or is caused by an individual with untreated mental health problems, gun violence is always, always a heartbreaking tragedy. Now more than ever, all of us, whether you are committed to achieving social justice in the areas of civil rights, education, health, immigration, LGBTQ equality or the arts, must stand together to stop gun violence.
I’m proud to stand with my colleagues at Cal Wellness and other organizations and individuals who are raising our voices in support of the victims of Orlando and the many, many other victims of violence in communities across the nation. Join the conversation at #Enough!.
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