During the weekend, yet another hate crime occurred in the LGBTQ community when a mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 dead and 53 injured. Families and friends of LGBTQ communities across the world are still recovering from the initial shock of the news. Among the victims was Enrique Rios, a New York social worker, on vacation visiting friends when his life ending in tragedy.
As I write this article, I am not only writing as a social work professional, but as an individual all too familiar the sight, smell, taste and fear hate crimes create. I am feeling shattered, upset, angry, and confused.
Words do not come easily to describe the cruelty and madness in this news. It is painful, but it should not leave us without reflection and the message of Love Wins. How can we as social workers take this message and make it a model, an approach, a perspective, a theory, and apply it in our practice?
How can we take the pain and trauma that people experience and transform it into universal love and support? How can we open our eyes and explore the power resonating within us with such rich emotions? How can we recall such emotions and integrate them in the way we support individuals?
An immense number of supporters across the world have gathered together and paid respects to the people who lost their lives and the bereaved in this act of senseless violence. People across the world united to show what love can do, and how love can be used.
“When big events happen that touch the gay community, people immediately come here,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
“There’s been no significant development in the gay rights movement that hasn’t had a presence in the Village,” he added. – New York Times
More than 5,000 people gathered in Soho, London UK and became silent within seconds altogether and maintained their silence for an extended period to show their respect for the deceased and their families and friends. More than 1,000 people in Athens, Greece came together to light candles and have a peaceful walk to show their empathy and willingness to accompany the bereaved in their journey of grief. People in France, across the US, in Korea, in the Pacific, in South America, all gathered to say one thing… LoveWins.
If love is so powerful, why do we as social workers not make this part of our everyday professional life? Social work, among other things, is an act of advocacy for human and civil rights. Our role stresses to influence policy makers, to influence localities, and to explore support systems in the community.
Love may be the one tool that may bring all these together and facilitate our work to a larger extent. Love may be an answer to the service user’s life. Love might bring different people together and teach them how to BE together and inspire us to help educate and learn from each other. Love may be the tool that will teach people to become more tolerant and eliminate discrimination, prejudice, oppression, microaggressions.
Love may be the tool that will forge strong relationships between community partners to provide holistic social services. Love may be the tool that will enable all people to stop hating each other.
Do we as social workers not pledge to promote the well-being of individuals, families, groups, and communities? Let’s teach people how to love and show them that difference is not a scary thing.
Connect With SWHELPER
Tips from a Microbiologist on Keeping the House Clean During COVID-19
The barrage of coronavirus-related news stories can be dizzying. Even for the seemingly well-informed, it’s become increasingly difficult to sift...
Depressed Kids Do Not Have A Look – Identifying Children in Crisis
As the lead social worker in charge of the behavioral health screening protocol at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children...
Racializing the Corona Virus Disease is Not Helpful
Over the past week, President Trump has repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus.” The virus, first reported in...
The Human Impacts of Covid-19 and What It Could Mean for the Future
A few weeks ago, I sat down to write about the profession of social work in light of March’s designation...
News2 months ago
Discussing White Supremacy: Having Difficult Conversations Are Required and Not Optional
Elder Care2 months ago
How New Tech Can Support Caregivers as They Support Seniors
News2 months ago
Social Work and the Reproductive Justice Framework
Justice2 months ago
UB Social Work Researchers Part of a Team Addressing Gun Violence