Last month our City experienced the most horrific tragedy in our history. But in a few short hours, days, weeks, we have continued to prove that we will rise from the ashes, and that this single event will not define us. The outpouring to my office of individuals, groups, families, churches, faith-based organizations, and businesses wanting to help was awe inspiring, so many inquiries from our own District 3 residents. And the letters and calls we received from other government agencies from around the world were comforting in a time of sorrow.
Children’s icon Fred Rogers said that, “when I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Those words certainly ring true in this scenario, when we saw not only the heroic actions of our first responders, but also the actions of so many neighboring businesses and community groups who pitched in to assist. Then there are our City residents who are joining together to do all they can during this difficult time.
As I write this, the OneOrlando Fund (oneorlando.org) has already raised more than $8.6 million dollars.
But I think the question on everyone’s mind, is where do we go from here? How do we make sure we stand #OrlandoUnited in the coming months, even the coming years? My prayer is that we can somehow bottle this spirit of giving and not only continue to use it to help all of those affected by this terrible experience, but also to support all facets of our City and all of the people in it.