Day of Reflection and Action for Orlando Tragedy

Dear Members of the Agnes Scott Community,

Our hearts go out to all the victims of the horrific massacre at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub this past Sunday – those who were killed and wounded and their grieving friends and families. Several of the victims were college students.

This terrible tragedy targeting a place of joy and celebration for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people is particularly painful for our community. It reminds us all of the importance of confronting homophobia in ourselves and others and calls us to speak up for the dignity, rights and safety of LGBTQ people.

And at a time when religious and political extremism, poisonous stereotyping and polarizing rhetoric is invoking the worst impulses among people both at home and around the world, and when Muslim members of our community are being stigmatized and targeted, it is also critically important to stand up for interfaith understanding and inclusion.

Let us all strive to lift up and to live by the ideals of a welcoming and hospitable community that affirms the rights of all human beings regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Together, we can show that love is stronger than hate!

On Monday, June 20, the Gay Johnson McDougall Center for Global Diversity and Inclusion will hold a day of reflection and action on campus. All members of the campus community are invited to participate in the following efforts:

· Noon on Campus
Ringing of the Bell in Recognition and Remembrance
In recognition of the intersectional nature of hatred, violence and terrorism, the college will ring the bell to honor the lives of the multitude of LGBTQ people who were murdered at Pulse in Orlando, Florida this past weekend, those who have been subjected to violence and murder prior to this incident and in memory of the one-year anniversary on June 17 of the murders of nine African American church members at a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church in South Carolina.

· 1:00-2:00 p.m. in Alston 304
“Not On Our Watch: A Call for Justice and Peace Dialogue.”
With an intersectional focus on challenging homophobia, Islamophobia and racism, this dialogue will provide students, faculty, staff and alumnae an opportunity to contribute to an action plan for the Agnes Scott community to follow in the 2016-2017 academic year.

I know many of you are away from campus next week or for the summer, so please note that we will also plan events to commemorate the victims of hatred and violence as part of our Pride events this fall.

Finally, I want to share with you some resources for coping in the aftermath of such tragedies:

American Counseling Association website
The Trevor Helpline: 1-866-4UTREVOR (1-866-488-7386) 
Trans Lifeline –for trans youth, staffed by trans individuals (877) 565-8860 
GLBT National Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-7743 
Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) 1-800-715-422

In grief and solidarity,
President Elizabeth Kiss