Editor’s note: On Tuesday, March 16, 2021, eight people were killed by 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area. One person survived the shooting, and according to CNN, they are in stable condition. Several of Long’s victims were Asian women, causing many to reflect on the recent rise in anti-Asian violence. In a statement to police, Long claimed the attack was not racially motivated; he said he aimed to attack sex workers because of his own issues with sexual addiction.
Rehumanize International unequivocally condemns violence against sex workers, violence against women, and violence against Asian people. All communities deserve to live free from violence. Below, Staff Writer Stephanie Hauer offers suggestions that may help communities heal and rehumanize in the aftermath of such tragedy.
How to Rehumanize After a Mass Shooting
Give if you can.
If you live near the site of the shooting, go to the hospital and donate blood to support the victims. If you don’t live nearby but can give monetarily, donate to the families and/or communities that have been directly affected. Medical care and funeral services are expensive. While money can never replace the person who was lost, having those expenses addressed means there’s one less obstacle for those who are grieving.
Volunteer your time.
This can take the form of political activism, community outreach, direct support to survivors of gun violence, or participating in other programs to benefit communities. Your time and your presence is valuable. Offering up your time and efforts can help create a world where these tragedies happen less frequently.
Take the time to learn the names of the victims, survivors, and direct responders to the incident. Learn about their lives and what they loved. Honor and remember them by rehumanizing them. We are all people, and we deserve to be treated as such. Violence undermines our humanity, but you can help restore that dignity.
Thinking about mass shootings can be overwhelmingly terrifying. It’s definitely scary to think about, but learning what to do in an active shooter event can help ward off some of that anxiety. This is a way to feel some sense of control, and that knowledge could even save lives someday.
Explore your emotions and find healthy ways to express them. Whatever emotions you’re feeling in response to this incident are completely valid. It’s important to process those feelings and not bottle them up or trap them. Try making an art piece, exercising, or writing out a poem or story.
Unplug from social media and take time to be present with whatever grounds and recharges you. This can take on many forms depending on your individual preferences. Spend time with your pets or with loved ones to revitalize your connections with other living creatures. Attend an affinity group meeting or cultural festival to connect with a larger community. Give yourself permission to prioritize your mental health, and rehumanize yourself.