When people ask me if I really mean, “EVERY” life? I say, “YES, each and every one.”
I believe that with all of my heart. Circumstances don’t make the value of a person. Decisions don’t make the value of a person.
The other thing I’m sure of (and so thankful for) is I’m not God. And either are you.
Every one of the 49 lives lost in the Pulse tragedy in Orlando matters!
Their names mark the earth with their value. Read each one. Weep over the portion of this generation that was stolen from us.
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Their legacies will remain. Forever.
Each and every LIFE lost to violence and hate matters. Every race. Every baby. Every age. Every religion. And every body matters.
This isn’t about our feelings, it’s about humanity. Some people want to pick this apart, so fine; I’ll go there.
I do mean every baby. Born or unborn, wanted or unwanted, viable or not, girl or boy, rich or poor, 1 or 2 parents, married or not, disabled or healthy, colored or fair, with or without heartbeat, loved or not. Every one is worthy of significant value.
When we start there, accepting that from the beginning, when the foundations of the earth were laid, we were created in the image of God. It’s His value that rests upon us; so we can get ourselves out of the way and live as family. Our worth is a gift given to us by Him. It NOT up to us to decide who has value, we all just do. We need to choose to love our neighbor, no matter their differences or lifestyle choices, with respect. God imprinted honor and value on us from the beginning of time, it was unconditional. It NOT up for negotiation.
So, how do we move forward in light of another terrorist attack? Are we going to be reactors or responders to all of the violence and hate? Responders are measured, purposeful and predetermined about their love. Love protects, promotes and serves. Hate kills, steals and destroys. Let’s not point fingers and play the blame game. None of us can stop ISIS. But we can look within and ask ourselves honestly, “What does my LIFE reflect?” Or “What do I need to stop doing that is hateful?”
Are you known for your words and actions of love or hate? No city, country, school, restaurant, church, shopping mall, airport or home is safe anymore. Violence is knocking on all of our doors. Hate is creeping into the cracks of our hearts through fear. Let’s respond in love by faith. Believe with me that hope comes from loving God and loving people. Look for ways to build up the value of life all around you. Stand at the grave with those who mourn. Hug a grieving widow; hold the hand of a scared parent whose waiting for a test result for their child. Ask a Veteran to tell you a story, give a beggar a dollar and ask them if they need anything else. Pray with your friend whose child is in prison, or son is fighting for your freedom oversees. Use your voice for advocacy for the oppressed and do not stand for injustice. Say “yes” when asked to help, pray or give. Don’t isolate instead give yourself in friendship to the lonely.
Let’s do life on life better. Let it start with you and me.