6 Ways You & Your Kids Can Help Victims in Orlando & Keep Us Safe From Guns

We hear so many horrifying stories about gun violence -- literally daily -- that they're starting to blur together. We hear about gunmen in our schools, gunmen in our churches, gunmen on our campuses and in our movie theaters. They're so ubiquitous, it's alarming. But the June 12 attack in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, caught the nation's attention because at least 49 people were murdered, making it the largest mass shooting in US history. That's it. The gun violence problem in our country shows no signs of stopping, and it's time to change something. You can help do that. 

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Start by helping the victims and survivors in Orlando, and once you're done, start changing the systems that keep allowing these headlines to happen. Here's how.

  1. Donate. Equality Florida is a registered nonprofit that's an advocate for Florida's LGBT community. It's collecting money on GoFundMe that'll be distributed back into the community via National Center for Victims of Crime, and it's working to be as transparent as possible so you know your donation is going to people who need it. It's a good place to start.

    The Pulse Tragedy Community Fund is also collecting money and putting it toward a hotline and in-person grief counseling. If you're a certified counselor or therapist, you can also volunteer to work on the hotline or at the GLBT Community Center in Orlando.

    More from CafeMom: 16 Powerful Images of Gun Violence Survivors: Let's Listen to What They Have to Say (PHOTOS)

  2. Reach out to your representative. If you're looking for a way to have kids help, this might be it. There are online tools to find your senatoryour representative, and their address or phone number, and then you (or your kids) can reach out. Say something passionate or say something canned -- it doesn't matter as long as you're contributing the voices yelling at them to change.

    If writing letters is too old-school for your kids, let them know that tweets help, too. And if they don't know what to say, Everytown for Gun Safety has a terrific tool that takes on the heavy lifting.

  3. Donate blood. This is especially important if you're in the Orlando area right now, particularly because gay and bi men -- who are obviously a huge part of the LGBT community -- are still banned from donating blood, thanks to an outdated and offensive law passed around the time of the AIDS epidemic. They're forced to sit on the sidelines while their peers are in hospital, making it absolutely vital that allies stand up and help where parts of the LGBT community cannot.

    The Orange County Firefighters specified which blood types they need the most of on Twitter. Not surprisingly, it's all of them:

    More from CafeMom: Shannon Watts Is Using Her Mom Power & 'Gun Sense' to Make All Our Kids Safer

  4. Petition. There's no age restriction on signing petitions, which means it's another significant way for kids to get involved. The Orlando shooter used an AR-15 to kill his victims, so MoveOn.org's petition to ban assault weapons is timely and important, but the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence supports a number of more targeted petitions to keep the US safe from gun violence.

  5. Join The Trevor Project Youth Advisory Council. There are a number of ways for you, as an adult, to support The Trevor Project, but their Youth Advisory Council is designed exclusively for kids to work as a bridge between the organization and LGBT youth. It involves an application process, but if your kids are dedicated and determined enough, they should reach out to The Trevor Project to apply.

  6. Vote. Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote. You do have a say in which laws exist and which laws don't, and voting for presidents, senators, and representatives that share your beliefs is the most direct way for you to make a difference. Politicians exist to represent you and the America you think should exist. Let them.

 

Image via Splash News

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