In Loving Memory…

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I never met any of the people listed below.

I have a “six degrees of separation” connection (2 degrees) to at least one of them.

On any given day, I might have been one of these people. So might have you.

All of these humans, simply having a carefree night hanging out with friends and family to escape the grind.

All of these lives cut short by a fellow human born without a soul and nothing but evil surging through his veins.

My stomach has been in knots since I first heard about what happened. I then learned about some connections that brought the incident closer to home.  As newer and newer details emerge, they continually morph into sheer horror. I am numbed, but at the same time, filled with anger, sadness, empathy, concern, and disbelief.

I’m a helper at heart, and there is nothing I can physically do to help in this terrible situation. At all. Nothing.

But I can remember each of these fellow humans, and learn about every one of them. I can love them all, even though I never met them. I can ask for strength for those who lost their daughter, son, parent, grandson, granddaughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, cousin, friend, roommate, classmate, teammate, coworker, colleague, and/or fellow human. And I can love each of them, too.

I can be compassionate and kind, and try to cultivate humanity by not remaining passive and silent.

Please join me in pledging to do the same. Learn about each of these people. Honor them. Share their stories and their legacies. Be compassionate and open. We cannot let evil or fear win this one. 

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz 24 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

The world is violent and mercurial – it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love – love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love. – Tennesee Williams

This is a time for compassion and kindness, not for grandstanding or for inflicting additional hurt or pain through words, comments, or violence. Comments that make any reference to religion, race, gun control, political party, or anything else that inflicts further hurt or pain are not welcome, not necessary, and will not be approved.  This is NOT the place for it. We are missing the HUMAN in HUMANITY, people! Please…above all else…choose humanity over judgment.

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