On June 12, a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., killing 49 people and injuring 53 more. U.S. news platforms updated headlines by the minute, and spectators turned to the Internet to voice their heartbreak in attempts to process the realities of mass losses of life and to offer condolences to the families of the victims.
Amidst the chaos and fear-mongering that the attack spawned, people stood in solidarity in the weeks after to show their support and strength for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities. Millions of people across the U.S. celebrated Pride Parades, and vigils were held in cities including London, Paris and Berlin. Around the world, grey buildings transformed into tributes for gay pride as rainbow flags reflected off glass windowpanes. But despite the celebrations’ colorful exteriors, overtones of sadness and grief, as portrayed by #WeStandWithOrlando posters, propelled supporters into greater unity and strength for the LGBT community.
Manifesting this strength into one unified song, Interscope Records released a new tribute single in the United States yesterday on July 5th.
The song, called “Hands”, features many A-list LGBT-supportive celebrities, including Britney Spears, Jason DeRulo, and Selena Gomez, to name a few, and the singers plea for listeners to speak out against hate crimes and use their personal platforms to advocate for a more inclusive and accepting society.
In an emotional bridge, Spears and P!nk, respectively, sing:
“I’ve been watching news and seeing all this hate. Tell me is it wrong to want a little change? / Hands can love, they can take, they can fight up until they say, they can break the world, they can change it too.”
Proceeds from the sale of the song will benefit Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, and GLAAD to aid families with medical care, counseling, and also education.
The compassion felt in response to the Orlando shooting demonstrates the shift towards cultures of inclusivity and toleration -- something necessary in order to progress towards equal human rights, especially for the most marginalized people in our society.