Kari Saitowitz, the fhitting room
As upsetting as some of the stories dominating headline news have been, they have also provided me the opportunity to talk about many important topics with my sons. To say there have been many teachable moments as of late would be a huge understatement. I’ve been asked many questions by my kids, including to explain what transgender means, what happened in Orlando, and why people flew airplanes into the World Trade Center. My sons have long known there are women who love women and men who love men, as those questions were asked years ago. I’m thankful my kids are curious and want to learn and understand all of these topics, and I’m grateful they are still young enough that I am the person they turn to for explanations. Their questions have provided me the perfect stage to explain the importance of treating all people the same regardless of their characteristics and preferences, and the tragedies on the news demonstrate the horrific events that can unfold when people do not accept each other for who they are. I love raising my sons in NYC, and I love that they are surrounded by all kinds of people. I don’t lie to my children; I don’t hide tragedy or hatred from them. I try my best to explain events taking place around them in an age-appropriate way, and I show them love, respect, and acceptance of all people through my words, and more importantly through my actions. I don’t want them to be scared (and they are not); I want them to be well informed and be part of the movement against hatred and bias because after all LOVE IS LOVE.
Sloan Symington Smith, the fhitting room
To create change, you must show a united front. The fact that the extremely diverse fitness community here in NYC came together in such strong number, to show support for a cause that so desperately needs to be addressed by our government, is a testament in itself. To incite change there has to be a tipping point, and hopefully this campaign, along with so many others that are happening around the world, will be enough to get politicians and lawmakers attention to see that the public is asking for some much needed changes. There have been too many avoidable tragic events that have happened, and some could certainly have been avoided if there were stricter gun regulations in place. The time has come that as a country we have to acknowledge the world we live in, and evolve our laws accordingly.
Carlos Davila, the fhitting room
GUNS AGAINGST GUN VIOLENCE is significant because we live in a society were gun violence has become the norm; sadly we seem to have become desensitized to it and that can't happen. As a father of two young men, it is important that a sense of control and regulation of guns and their usage be in place. I am honestly terrified as a parent of what my children will grow up and face if there aren't changes made
As a young man growing up in the Bronx in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I have witnessed my fair share of gun violence related events that have impacted me personally; from my uncle being killed by gunfire in his neighborhood to a close childhood friend shooting himself in the head playing around with a gun, it has left an indelible impact.
If we don't stand up, we will continue to wait for the next news story to break related to gun violence. Honestly, it is so entrenched in parts of the American culture that it will take a significant amount of work to change and it has to happen from the ground up; whether that can be facilitated by legislation, local government, etc remains to be seen, but someone much smarter than me has to figure it out. I am terrified! I want to be able to travel with my children and allow them to experience the rest of the country and the world, but at times it feels like a very scary place.
By continuing to show my love for those who may not love me; by not allowing the ignorance, hatred, and apathy that has become a part of our society to impact my view of others or interaction with others, I can make sure that love is stronger than hate. It honestly starts with simple things, a helping hand, a smile. I have a close friend from the Midwest who constantly reminds me to say hi to people in the morning and smile more. (NYers are notorious for death stares!) All I can do is show people my version of love, and pray for their mindset to expand. We are often so mired in our own way of thinking and reacting that we don't allow ourselves the time and space to expand our ideology.
Elspeth Montgomery, the fhitting room
We can ensure that love is stronger than hate by encouraging a society that airs on the side of compassion instead of judgment; acknowledging that life is composed of successes and struggles; and constantly reminding ourselves that allowing social constructs to divide us only tarnishes our ability to protect our one common denominator, what we should uphold without question, our shared humanity.
Mat Forzaglia, the fhitting room
At times like these I'm at a loss for words, so I turn to someone who knew what to say. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” And love is love is love.
Liz Benjamin, the fhitting room
My heart is still broken by the horrendous tragedies in Newtown, Blacksberg, San Bernadino, Aurora, Fort Hood, my college town of Isla Vista, and the (too many) other towns, families, individuals and loved ones who have lost their lives or been affected by unnecessary gun violence that has occurred in the past years.
Despite these prior tragedies, little progress has been made in gun reform, and now we've suffered the worst mass shooting in modern history, and 50 beautiful people in Orlando have paid with their lives. It begs the question, when is enough, enough?
This is why the campaign GUNS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE is important, as it brings the critical and crucial conversation on gun control, policies, and our 2nd amendment rights to the forefront. It takes a stand against gun violence and shows that we as a community no longer accept the status quo on gun regulations. As many fitness professionals can tell you, in order to be a catalyst for change, you have to take action! And that is why we are standing united as GUNS AGAINST GUN VIOLENCE
Sam Shaughnassy, the fhitting room
Orlando is one of the too many brutal reminders of the prejudice we face today. It shows that evil exists, and unfortunately makes more headlines than the amazing love and support I witness daily. That is why campaigns like these are so important. To show that we are united as one and, regardless of evil's actions, will remain strong.