My name is Dominique Hernandez. I am a Mexican-American lesbian. I am also a student in the Master’s of Psychology program at Antioch University Los Angeles. In response to this week’s tragic shooting in Orlando I attended a rally in Los Angeles. An image of me with my rainbow colored fist with a painted heart at my pulse has been circulating in the news. (It was featured on ABC News, Reuters, and Getty Images, to name a few.) I would like to express my motivation behind creating this display of unity and acceptance.
I, like millions of other people worldwide, have been broken-hearted by the senseless, murderous, cowardly tragedies that continue to shake our lives.
My hJuly 24th. I hope this movement will be a legacy to the precious lives which were lost.
When I was a teenager, I was beaten by a sibling who wanted “to change me because I am a sinner.” I was forced to leave my family home and live in a LGBTQ shelter for run-away teens. Through that experience I learned how to stand up for what is right. I also learned that the ethos of persecution is deep seeded in the narrative of many strict religious cultures. I believe that only way to cultivate change is through educating future generations that acceptance of all people is what we must strive to achieve.
When we, as a worldwide collective, can weave together our many nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and physically challenged people, into a layered, interwoven tapestry of unity, it is then that we are as impermeable as Kevlar. If we allow fear to divide us or if we isolate groups of people, we have lessened our own strength.
Let’s change the dialogue of prejudice and division on a global scale.
Let’s focus on even the smallest commonality amongst ourselves, how are we alike instead of how are we different. Perhaps it is something as simple as we an animal lover, or a musician, or a writer, or a techie. Let’s look for the good in others instead of seeking faults and differences.
Let’s teach our children how to be loving to ALL humans. We must be truly mindful of hateful and discriminating words that children hear. Take pause. Think about how we can change the world for the positive.
Let’s care for one another. On July 24th, let’s change social Media to social WEdia, let’s refrain from posting any “selfies” but instead, let’s post “selfless” photos which show an act of kindness towards another human, feed a homeless person, help at a senior or V.A. center, clean up litter in your neighborhood, learn to say “hello” in a new language and say it to a person from that country, anything which is an act of kindness – then post a photo of that “selfless” act of kindness.
Let’s learn that language can hurt, it can create a seed of discrimination and prejudice that breeds damage to the world. Speak only kindness.
Let’s create a world of love!
I hope that my painted fist will generate a movement of strength and that you will share the meaning and ask the world to stand together to promote love and acceptance. Let’s create a meaningful legacy for the victims of this senseless violence.
I would like to designate July 23rd as the day in which we stand together at monuments worldwide with rainbow painted fists; that on this day all Social Media posts become social WEdia posts, only ones of love and “selflessness.”
Karen Hamilton ’17 (Antioch Los Angeles, MA) is Antioch's Director of Marketing for Content and Communications. She has used her storytelling and copywriting skills for more than twenty years, crafting articles and creating publications. She believes that communication is a powerful driver for social change.