Monday marks one year since a gunman killed dozens of people and wounded dozens more inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The terrorist attack targeted people from the LGBTQ community. In response to the tragedy, a spiritual counselor from Sedona has designed a first-of-its-kind LGBTQ Wellness Summit. The online program invites people from all of over the world to workshops on health, relationships and coming out. Lori Morrison spoke to KNAU’s Gillian Ferris about the project.
LM: A year ago June 12th was the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It truly was an attack on all of America. And it was really no less than any other terrorist attack, so after the nightclub incident I just felt, like, wow … this community is taking a pretty big hit, not only just being a difficult lifestyle to deal with in our culture, but also being involved in a terrorist attack. So it prompted me to dig deeper and to find out more about what this community needed and to work with my co-producer in getting together a group of inspiring voices who would be appropriately timed for this event of the year anniversary and to provide support and inspiration to people who might be recalling what happened, or memories of what was a tragic time for the community.
GF: And many of the workshops, online workshops, are related to health, they’re related to generational beliefs … I’m wondering if you can give us a rundown of some of the workshops.
LM: We have a whole day just about spirituality. A lot of times people feel a little bit alienated from religion. We have another day that we talk about wellness issues relating to the community. A lot of times there is a disconnect with the medical profession. And then we have a really inspiring story about Angel Colon who was one of the survivors of the Pulse nightclub event. He was shot six times in the leg, and his is just a wonderful, inspiring story about how he is a year later, giving people hope and a sense of positive attitudes.
GF: And Lori, this summit is dedicated to the victims; those who were killed, those wounded, those traumatized in the Orlando nightclub shooting.
LM: Yes. This is about transforming perception, and it also feeds into the whole terrorism issue, as well. There are a lot of parallels here about acceptance and about people being different. And I think that is a good lesson, and so all those lives that we lost, I feel are thumbprints on our society about really and truly, um, how important acceptance is and tolerating people who think different than you and maybe live a different lifestyle than you.