What a shock it was to wake up after a beautiful evening in Philadelphia, celebrating Pride, to the news.

What’s even more disturbing is that in 2016, there is still so much hate and misunderstanding in this world. After the new wave of enlightenment and consciousness that many of us have been trying to seek and practice, there are those that unfortunately will continue to spread negative energy.

So what can we do as an individual, as a community, and as a world to initiate change?

Like many others, being a part of the LGBTQ community, the Orlando Massacre hit home. Not only did the event disgust many from every walk of life, but left a trail of heartache that will always be remembered. Yes, it was a hate crime. Not just towards the LGBTQ community, but towards humanity. Those killed and injured were young and old alike. They stemmed from every race and ethnic group and every religion. They were both male and female, gay and straight.

This type of event can happen any place at any time. The insurmountable effects have spread to families and loved ones far beyond the borders of Orlando, as the words “We are Orlando” are ringing around the world.

Like many, I hope that this is the answer to the question above. I hope that people realize that becoming one as a community of individuals is the first step to initiating change and eradicating hate.

I remember being a kid when I heard a group of varied religious leaders come together to spread the word of tolerance. Since then, tolerance was able to be legislated. In my eyes, this was a start. Twenty or more years later, and I realize it’s not tolerance we need, it’s acceptance. Unfortunately, we can’t legislate acceptance.

However, what we can do is find our commonalities and become one.

We can empathize knowing that we are all sons or daughters, we are all a friend to someone, many are also a mother or father. The loss of a family member or friend is an event that every person on this earth has or will experience. In the wake of this tragedy, every one of us can unite under this basic principal.

Using this to connect life to life, we can create an outpouring of love and support that will not fade. I once heard someone say, “For dark to fade light must come in.” So, as we continuously and consistently weave together a web of positive energy, we will begin to see the darkness fade and change truly begin to eradicate our current perception of the world around us.