After Orlando: 10 Options for Action

Image: Graffiti on a brick wall: “Seek Justice.”

Here are ten ways we can take action, if we choose:

  1. We can mourn the dead and comfort the mourners.
  2. If there is a memorial or demonstration in our area, we can attend.
  3. We’ve already begun to see places to donate to assist the victims and their families. Pulse Victims Fund by Equality Florida is a GoFundMe site with responsible connections.
  4. We can contact our elected officials about the loopholes and gaps in gun safety legislation. The murderer has already been described as a mentally unstable domestic abuser who had already been investigated twice by the FBI for terrorist connections, but he was able to purchase a military-style assault weapon with a high capacity magazine. What’s wrong with that picture?
  5. Register and VOTE. Before you vote, do your homework and vote accordingly: which candidates have voting records that match with your values? Which indulge in hate speech when they are campaigning? Which elected officials are in the pocket of the National Rifle Association? Which elected officials have sponsored or supported the over 100 anti-LGBTQ bills pending in the states? (Thanks to my colleague, Rabbi David Novak, for reminding me of this one!)
  6. We can speak up whenever we hear hateful speech from anyone about any group of people. Every time we say, “Not cool” to someone spouting it we remind them that it is wrong. Every time we fail to say something, we suggest by our silence that those words and attitudes are acceptable to us.
  7. We can donate to institutions that track hate crimes, like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti Defamation League.
  8. We can educate ourselves about anti-LGBTQ violence. Did you know that 20% of the hate crimes in the U.S. are directed against this small minority? Or that 70% of ant-LGBTQ murder victims are people of color?
  9. We can donate to local organizations that provide mental health support to LGBTQ clients. Here in my local area one choice is JFCS-East Bay but it should be easy to find organizations in your own area. Many of us are freaked out pretty badly after a day when on one coast, 50 LGBTQ people were murdered in cold blood and on the other coast, a man was arrested on his way to the Pride parade with a car full of weapons and ammunition.
  10. Donate blood, if you are able. Even if you live thousands of miles from Orlando, this and other gun violence puts pressure on the supply of blood. According to the American Red Cross, every pint donated may save up to three lives.

Notice what isn’t on this list: “thoughts and prayers.” Author John Scalzi wrote an eloquent post yesterday about “thoughts and prayers” and the emptiness of those words. I am reminded of the prophet Isaiah, who spent most of Chapter 1 of the book carrying his name decrying the futility of ritual when real live people are suffering.

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? says the Holy One.

I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts;
and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats.

Why are all those sacrifices offered to me? asks the Holy One.
I am fed up with burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened animals!
I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls, lambs and goats!

Yes, you come to appear in my presence; 
but who asked you to do this, to trample through my courtyards?

Stop bringing worthless grain offerings.
They are offerings of abomination to me!
Rosh-Hodesh, Shabbat, calling convocations —
I cannot stomach the sin within your assemblies!

My soul hates your Rosh-Hodesh and your festivals.
They are a burden to me; I am tired of putting up with them!

When you spread out your hands I will hide my eyes from you;
no matter how much you pray I won’t be listening,
because your hands are covered with blood.

Wash yourselves clean. Get your evil deeds out of my sight.

Stop doing evil! Learn to do good!

Seek justice, relieve the oppressed,
defend orphans, advocate for the bereaved! – Isaiah 1:11-17

If you have other ideas of action to take in the face of this terrible event, I welcome your suggestions in the comments.

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

5 thoughts on “After Orlando: 10 Options for Action”

  1. This is a good post. By this time last week, my entire world had been turned on it’s head. We are still reeling. I’ve had a whole lot to experience and say since my pager went off repeatedly at about 2:30 Sunday Morning and I sat helplessly by wondering who was on call, how the patients were, and what was really going on… for me now, there is daily monitoring as most of the patients did end up in my areas of responsibility.

    Two more options to help are listed below.
    For Cards and Well Wishes, may I suggest sending Well Wishes to our Chaplain Staff? They have been working overtime with services, memorials, interventions and coordination of many other efforts to support our staff. I would also suggest sending to the Environmental Services Staff- they didn’t perform surgery but their efforts ensured that OR’s and patient rooms could be turned over quickly. Our EVS team has the heart of lions and so rarely gets recognized. Guest Services- the people who greet you when you walk into a facility- also played a huge role in working with enormous crowds that gathered in our large lobby on Sunday Morning.

    Well-wishes and Cards for Orlando Regional Medical Center and the Level One Trauma Center Team Members: to send well-wishes and cards to the trauma team here at Orlando Health, mail them to: Volunteer Services, 1414 Kuhl Avenue, MP #83, Orlando, FL 32806

    As far as monetary donation to the medical center. It seems crazy that a medical center would ask for donations. Orlando Health has the Level One Trauma Program in the area. Staff have to be trained to certain levels, surgeons on call must stay within a short distance of the hospital. Drills must be performed frequently. Helicopters are maintained across the state – so we can move injured with immediate care and haste to our facility. Our program is full of passionate, committed persons. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen someone running for the OR or ED. We really want to save your life. As such, we see unfortunate people from all walks of life, from all over the state of Florida regardless of their ability to pay. Because of this program – ORMC was able to save as many lives as possible, but this all comes with a very high monetary cost.
    Monetary Donations to Orlando Regional Medical Center and the Level One Trauma Center: Two options have been set up for individuals and organizations looking to support Orlando Regional Medical Center and the Level One Trauma Center: Text “Orlando” to 20222 to donate $10 to ORMC’s Level One Trauma Center (the donation will be added to your cell phone carrier bill). Donate online at (monetary donations can be made using a credit card at this website). For additional questions or inquiries regarding monetary donations to Orlando Health, please email or call 407.841.5194.

    Thank you to all of you who have said any sort of prayer, blessing or given a “thought” to those in Orlando. We do appreciate it. I encourage you to take as much action as you are led to take. Let’s make this the last mass shooting event, rather than one with many more to come.

    1. Thank you so much for these terrific ideas and the information to put them into action! Mizunogirl, you have been on my grateful mind ever since I first heard about *Pulse. Thank you for all the good that you do in this world!

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