About 300 people gathered June 13 in Harrisburg to attend the We Stand with Orlando Rally in response to the nightclub shooting at gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, FL. Multiple speakers, including Gov. Tom Wolf, expressed their grief and hopes. Alder Health Services CEO Rosemary Browne also addressed the rally. wne also addressed the rally. Story & photos courtesy of Central Voice
Alder Health Services CEO Rosemary Browne addressing We Stand with Orlando Rally, June 13 in Harrisburg. Central Voice photo
One of the youngest members of the Alder Health family at the vigil
Alder Health CEO Rosemary Browne, left, and Gov. Tom Wolf. Central Voice photo
Here is a full transcript of Rosemary’s remarks:
“Good evening. My name is Rosemary Browne and I am president & CEO of Alder Health services. When I was asked to speak today, I thought about the times we live in, the world we live in…the fact that we are confronted way too often with acts of violence perpetrated by individuals or groups that strike out of hate, out of ignorance, out of intolerance, out of fear of what they do not understand. We watch these tragic events unfold sometimes with sympathy or empathy, with shock and horror, with anger and hostility, with sadness, or maybe we just watch…we just watch – detached, distanced and desensitized by the fact that the mind of another human being could dwell in such a dark, troubled and evil place that compels them to silence a human life forever. Sometimes we are left feeling utterly powerless over the enormity of such inhumanity. But in the midst of these feelings, we must have faith in the basic, decent nature of people; we must not forget that events such as what occurred in Orlando yesterday are still the exception, not the rule. Let’s not allow ourselves to become hopeless and bitter, to turn against each other out of fear and mistrust, but to reach out and rejoice in the joy that is life. 49 souls in Orlando deserve that rejoicing in the joy that was their life, taken too soon in such a senseless act of hate and violence. They have left behind family and friends and yes, you and me, to do whatever is within our power to be messengers of tolerance, of love, of respect for the differences among us – to honor each person’s humanity as we would our own.
These acts of violence can trigger strong negative and confusing feelings and sometimes stir up past trauma or experiences. If you need help processing your feelings, or if you know someone else who is struggling at this difficult time, please reach out to us at Alder Health. We are proud to provide affirming mental health services specific to the LGBTQ community and we are here to help in any way that we can.
I would like to read an excerpt from a poem I found online that was posted by a young man who had recently come to terms with what it means to be gay in America and his journey to live freely and proudly in his own skin, no longer hiding under a homophobic facade. After describing his journey, he goes on to say, “…all of this changed today. Today I’ve lost more than 50 small pieces of me. Today I feel like my freedom was stolen, but handed to me emotionally. Today I was shattered. Today I began to fear celebrating my pride. Today i found out that there is complete and pure evil in the world. Today I am completely empty. Today I’ve shed countless tears for each of the souls who accepted themselves. And because of them, today I accept myself. Today I am proud of being part of the LGBTQ community.” Today, I am proud to be an ally of the LGBTQ community.