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On June 12, 2016, the deadliest mass shooting in American history unfolded at an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Photo by Gregg Newton/AFP/Getty Images.

At least 50 people were killed with dozens more injured. The terrorist act — committed by a homophobic, religious extremist — sparked reactions from President Barack Obama and leaders from around the world.


Unfortunately, a knee-jerk response from some people was to condemn the violence with misinformed fear — to blame all Muslims for the ideology a very small group promotes.

It's a dangerous response to have — especially if you're a presidential hopeful with a platform — because implying all Muslims are capable of committing (or sympathizing with) such an atrocity only further divides our communities and justifies prejudice.

That's why one Florida man's viral Facebook post in the wake of the tragedy is all the more important.

Mahmoud ElAwadi, a Muslim who lives in Orlando, shared a photo of himself giving blood on Sunday. In the post — which within a day was shared more than 110,000 times — ElAwadi points out several truths every American should keep in mind while processing what happened.

Here is ElAwadi's post in full:

-Yes my name is Mahmoud a proud Muslim American. 

-Yes I donated blood even though I can't eat or drink anything cause I'm fasting in our holy month Ramadan just like hundreds of other Muslims who donated today here in Orlando. 

-Yes I'm angry for what happened last night and all the innocent lives we lost. 

-Yes I'm sad, frustrated and mad that a crazy guy [claiming] to be a Muslim did that shameful act. 

-Yes I witnessed the greatness of this country watching thousands of people standing in 92 degree sun waiting on their turn to donate blood even after they were told that the wait time is 5-7 hours. 

-Yes this is the greatest nation on earth watching people from different ... ages including kids volunteering to give water, juice, food, umbrellas, sun block. Also watching our old veterans coming to donate. And next to them Muslim women in hijab carrying food and water to donors standing in line. 

-Yes together we will stand against hate, terrorism, extremism and racism. 

-Yes our blood all [looks] the same so get out there and donate blood cause our fellow American citizens are injured and need our blood. 

-Yes our community in central Florida is heart broken but let's put our colors, religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views all aside so we can UNITE against those who are trying to hurt us.

Here are three crucial reminders ElAwadi highlighted in his post.

1. This terrorist's actions do not reflect Islam in the slightest.

Like the vast majority of Muslims, ElAwadi is "sad, frustrated, and mad that a crazy guy [claiming] to be a Muslim did that shameful act."

Muslim leaders in the U.S. were quick to condemn the motives behind the ISIS-inspired massacre. Nihad Awad, national executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said these extremists "do not belong to this beautiful faith."

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

2. Muslim Americans are just as devastated by this attack on our country as anyone else.

"I'm angry for what happened last night and all the innocent lives we lost," ElAwadi wrote. "Together we will stand against hate, terrorism, extremism and racism."

ElAwadi is not the exception. You don't have to look far to spot Muslims showing their support for the victims and rejecting the senseless violence. 

Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images.

3. America is at its greatest when all of us — regardless of skin color, religion, or sexual orientation — rally together to help those in need.

"I witnessed the greatness of this country watching thousands of people standing in 92 degree sun waiting on their turn to donate blood even after they were told that the wait time is 5-7 hours," ElAwadi wrote. He noted that people of all ages — including veterans and women wearing hijabs — pitched in to do their part.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

As ElAwadi's post demonstrated so well, the more we stomp out hate and replace it with solidarity, the better off we'll all be.

"Our blood all [looks] the same," ElAwadi concluded. "Yes, our community in central Florida is heartbroken, but let's put our colors, religions, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views all aside so we can unite against those who are trying to hurt us."

Seeing as love tends to conquer all, I'd say that's a pretty good plan. 

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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