Dear Reader,

Like you, my heart aches. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has left us all stunned and in shock. The students impacted will always live with trauma, their families will forever be in pain, and our first responders will face overwhelming invisible injuries as they process this tragedy.

Orlando knows this pain all too well. House District 47 is home to the Pulse nightclub and as Floridians, we don’t just need comprehensive gun safety reform — we demand it.

I promise you, when you send me to Tallahassee I will fight tirelessly for common sense gun safety legislation. I am honored to be a founding member of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, and to have the endorsement of the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence. Both are organizations that I encourage you to keep in touch with, and to support.

I will not deny that this is a complex problem that requires a holistic approach. Access to guns, glorification of violence, and mental health funding each play a role in finding solutions. I want to hear from you too, and invite you to reply to this email to share your perspective.

It takes collaboration and courage to reduce gun violence. Fortunately, I have experience with both.

This is hard time for us all. If you need someone to talk to in the face of this tragedy, consider seeking the support of a mental health counselor. Here are a few resources:

  • SAMSHA’s Disaster Distress Hotline: Multilingual hotline, available 24/7, dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • 2-1-1: Dial this for mental health crisis intervention and information and referral to mental health services and more.
  • Orlando United Assistance Center: The Orlando United Assistance Center is prepared to handle an influx of calls for anyone affected by the Pulse tragedy that feels triggered today or at any time. Call 407-500-HOPE.
  • Mental Health Association of Central Florida: Available 9AM-5PM. Can call to arrange appointment to speak with a counselor by phone from 9AM-Midnight. Also a resource to help anyone navigating finding any additional mental health resources. Call 407-898-0110.
  • UCF Hillel (for students): Vanessa Stein, MSW, from UCF Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will be on the second floor of Hillel this Friday, February 16th from 12:00-2:00 to help students process the tragic event.
  • CAPS at Rollins (for students): All currently enrolled students, except those in the Master of Arts in Counseling program, are eligible to receive counseling at the Rollins Wellness Center. Click here to learn more.
  • Valencia College (for students): Short-term assistance is available to students, click here to learn more.
  • OneBlood has responded to meet the current blood needs of the Parkland area hospitals, but they are requesting O negative blood donations to replenish supply. Find locations here:

We must honor those who are no longer with us through action. I’m done with “thoughts and prayers” and I know you are too.

With all my heart,