Commissioner Stuart – June 2017
One year ago this month, the most horrific event in our City’s history occurred and 49 innocent, amazing lives were cut short- and more individuals were injured- in a cowardly act of violence. Like so many defining tragedies throughout history, we all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the heartbreaking news of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub. But what also stands out was what came after; our community came together to remember the victims, support their families and their causes, support our first responders, and stand united against hatred in any form in our Orlando.
Following that fateful day, the mayor and city council have sent flags of solidarity to other cities who have since had to overcome tragedy- Istanbul, Berlin, Nice, Dallas, Baton Rouge and just last month, Manchester. We, as a City, were blessed to receive love, thoughts, and prayers from all over the globe following Pulse and we wanted to pay it forward to others who were grieving, while continuing to espouse the message that Love Wins.
This year, our City and our County hope to continue the unity that has enveloped our community since that day and invite you to begin with us a new tradition- Orlando United Day.
On June 12, 2017, Orlando United Day is an opportunity to join with others in remembrance ceremonies as well as in acts of love and kindness as a respectful way to honor those who lost their lives and those who need support.
Visit orlandounitedday.com for information about the different events throughout the community, including a one-year remembrance ceremony at Lake Eola Park. The program, Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels, will take place at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at 7 p.m. and will include remarks by community leaders, musical performances by Olga Tañón and Sisaundra Lewis, and a memorial reading of the 49 names.
Along with the ceremonies, Orlando United Day will also be filled with Acts of Love and Kindness, which is a homegrown movement by the One Orlando Alliance to encourage our community, and those around the world, to honor all those who have been affected by the Pulse tragedy by doing good for others. Look at the website for ways to volunteer. One of the neatest parts of the site is entitled “49 Acts of Kindness” where several of the parents of the victims share how they would like to see love and kindness expressed to honor their children.
Some of their suggestions that we can all easily do: let someone cut in front of you during rush hour traffic, hold a door for someone, compliment someone you don’t know, smile at least 49 times in one day, pray for peace and tolerance, introduce yourself to a neighbor you don’t know, and offer to help an elderly neighbor with yard work. To see the rest of the great ideas, visit orlandounitedday.com.
As I think about ways to build community, I always think about our Neighborhood Watch program. While it is based out of our Orlando Police Department and has its roots in crime prevention, the core of the program is built on the idea that getting to know your neighbors is the first line of defense in keeping our neighborhoods revitalized. Looking out for one another, even when we do not see eye to eye, truly makes a good area great. When I think about all of the amazing neighborhoods in my district, one thing I hear on repeat is how much residents love their neighbors. So if you are not yet a member, please consider starting a Neighborhood Watch group and see what a difference this program can make on your block. Visit cityoforlando.net/police or call 407-246-2369 to express interest in learning more about the program.
We also celebrate Father’s Day this month. When I think about my own father, I am grateful for the lessons he taught me about tolerance and fighting for equality for all. As we think about ways we can make a difference in our community, many wonderful charitable organizations in our City support fathers through family stabilization efforts, job training and more. As we dedicate this month to love, kindness and the amazing paternal role models in our lives, consider supporting organizations such as Salvation Army, Harbor House, and the Christian Service Center for Central Florida, who help build strong families in our community.
As always, thank you for all you do to make Orlando a City for Everyone and a great place to live, work and raise a family. See you around the community this month.by