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The only thing that can keep us going when faced with horrible scenarios like the one that occurred in South Carolina last night, is togetherness. We need to stand together in the face of this violence and mourn with each other, as the families and loved ones of those killed and injured yesterday will mourn. We now know that young man allegedly responsible for this hate crime is in custody, and the only hope is that there will be some light shed on what could bring someone so deep into hate as to take the lives of so many. Let’s not make this about religion, even though violence in a house of worship is sickening. Let’s not make this about race, even though this was yet another white against black crime. Let’s make this about people, about humans, about how we treat one another and about how there are still those who are taught to hate. Yes, this is a hate issue, a gun issue, a mental health issue, but underneath it all it is a people issue. We must teach our children that this kind of violence doesn’t have to occur. We must teach them to understand and accept the differences in people and embrace the beauty in those differences. In the last couple months, we have seen a champion change identities and become a woman. Does that make her less of a champion? More recently, we have seen a woman’s claimed identity stripped from her. Does that make her accomplishments and advancements for the organization she led any less impactful? We need to talk. We need to cry. We need to change. Then, and only then, will we be able to truly love each other because we will have found love within ourselves. I am grateful that I can have these open dialogues with my children, and counter their questions and reactions with communication and exploration. I won’t get everything right, but I’ve also learned not to be afraid to say I don’t know, or don’t understand. I don’t understand what drives someone to want to kill so many people. I don’t understand what those affected by this tragedy are contending with right now. I don’t understand how this keeps happening. I only understand that I can do my part with my children, to foster goodness within them, because I know I would not want to be that alleged shooters mother right now. Hug your children. That’s all we need to know.

Stay well.