After the Orlando shooting, the world came together to make sure love can still win.

In response to the tragedy in Orlando, people came together in grieving and solidarity.

Hate is a hard feeling to get past. Tragedies like the shooting in Orlando remind us that hate — true, poisonous hate — not only exists, but can exist so potently as to snuff out human life.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.


In the wake of such tragedies, however, we also see images that help restore humanity to a world constantly under attack.

We see images of solidarity, tears, and held hands. We see candles and flowers laid on the ground by strangers. We see images of people from all walks of life, across oceans and international borders, coming together to show that hate is vastly outnumbered by the acts of love and compassion that fight it.

Photo by Dario Pignatelli/Getty Images.

In the coming days, you’ll find endless discussion about where we go from here. How do we prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future? How does this affect policy? What president should we elect? How do we win the fight against hate?

Here are some of the most iconic responses to the Orlando shooting from around the world.

In New York, members of the LGBT community and their supporters gathered outside the Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 riots that helped launch the modern gay rights movement.

Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

Many cities, like San Diego, flew the gay pride flag at half-mast above and outside landmarks.

Photo by Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images.

New York City's One World Trade Center was among the buildings lit up in rainbow colors as a tribute to the Orlando victims.

Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images.

But perhaps the most powerful statements were ones made by ordinary people, brought together by a flood of emotion.

In cities around the world, people gathered in solidarity with the victims of the shooting and with the larger LGBT community itself.

Dallas:

Photo by Laura Buckman/AFP/Getty Images.

Chicago:

Photo by Nova Safo/AFP/Getty Images.

Washington, D.C.:

Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images.

Mumbai, India:

Photo by Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images.

Sydney, Australia:

Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images.

Berlin:

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

Seoul, South Korea:

Photo by Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images.

Hong Kong:

Photo by Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images.

Bangkok:

Photo by Dario Pignatelli/Getty Images.

Wellington, New Zealand:

Photo by Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images.

Love is stronger than hate. Telling ourselves that is important, but it means little if we don't believe it and act on it too.

It's easy to feel as though the world is beyond saving or to give in to cynicism. But there's a lesson to be learned here, a lesson that exists in the images of flickering candles, flags, and lit-up monuments from all over the world.

Love has already won. We’ve already won.

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Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

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"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

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Someday, future Americans will look back on this era of school shootings in bafflement and disbelief—not only over the fact that it happened, but over how long it took us to enact significant legislation to try to stop it.

Five people die from vaping, and the government talks about banning vaping devices. Hundreds of American children have been shot to death in their classrooms, sometimes a dozen or so at a time, and the government has done practically nothing. It's unconscionable.

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Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign, is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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