After the recent Orlando shooting, in which 49 people were killed and 53 were injured, the first thing I did was reach out to my best friend. She is unarguably the kindest, most genuine, and lovable person I know- and she happens to be gay.

Knowing that LGBTQ people were targeted – in a place they came for community and support –immediately triggered thoughts about what I would do if that were her at that nightclub.

I would be devastated knowing that the person I care about so deeply was killed simply because of who she chooses to love.

And even though I myself don’t identify as LGBTQ, knowing and loving my best friend is makes it my responsibility to stand beside her and speak out against hate crimes.

If we can all come together, including straight allies, we can help prevent these acts of violence and hatred from occurring in the future. But doing so takes more than a Facebook post- it takes action, time, and a commitment to living in a place where we can all feel safe from violence.

Here are some ways how:

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