Monday morning. It’s business as usual at Snapshots. Everyone is safe and sound at their desks. There is the usual soft hum of chatter and ambient keyboard clicking just like any other day. Yet there is an unshakeable gloom that has settled over all of us. It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the loss of lives ended far too soon.

On Saturday morning we awoke to the news that 22 year old singer Christina Grimmie from The Voice had been shot at the Plaza Live Theater. Still reeling from this untimely death, we learned early Sunday morning that Omar Mateen attacked Pulse nightclub killing 49 people and leaving 53 wounded.

Overcome with shock, many of us took to social media and frantically began searching Facebook’s safety check. We tuned into news outlets searching for answers. Why did this happen? How could this happen – here of all places?

Within a matter of hours Orlando sprang into action. People were lined up for blocks to donate blood, GoFundMe pages began raising money for victims and their families, citizens volunteered their time and resources wherever they were needed, therapy dogs came to the rescue by providing comfort at local support groups, and hashtags like #WeAreOrlando started trending all over social media.

“This particular young man has not heard anything about his brother who was in the hospital across the street. Therapy dog Saxon definitely shared some love with him.”

In the wake of these events every member of our team was moved to help the cause through the donation of time, money, and resources. Even our founder and CEO, Jonathan Dantes, several years removed from government service, geared up once more in his police uniform to provide additional aide to the LEO community.

As flags flew at half-staff, Orlando began receiving an outpouring of love and support from across the globe. President Barack Obama addressed the nation, the Los Angeles Pride Parade carried signs for those lost, and vigils were held around the world.  Lin-Manuel Miranda in particular paid tribute to Orlando during his acceptance speech for Best Score of A Musical at the Tony Award’s reciting “..and love is love is love is love is love is love is love – cannot be killed or swept aside.”

Photo via PATCH SOCAL 

Lin-Manuel Miranda at the 2016 Tony Awards via Entertainment Tonight

At Snapshots, we celebrate love of all shapes and sizes every single day. Through our platform, people share their happiest life moments for all of their loved ones to see. We are devastated that such a tragedy could occur in our own backyard. Especially when this was a direct attack on all that we stand for – an attack on innocent individuals simply trying to love and celebrate with one another.

Today we send light and love to those affected by this loss, the entire LGBT community, and all of our Orlando brothers and sisters. We would also like to formally thank all of our Central Florida first responders for selflessly sacrificing their own needs and safety in exchange for helping those in crisis.

Orlando is our home, and we are proud to remain #OrlandoStrong.  At Snapshots we consider ourselves not just a team, but a family. We will stand together and continue to donate our time and resources to help our community during this dark time. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “hate cannot drive out hate – only love can do that.”


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