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No matter the outcome, these lawmakers will keep trying to 'disarm hate.'

Sen. Chris Murphy led the charge to try to put an end to gun violence.

No matter the outcome, these lawmakers will keep trying to 'disarm hate.'

On June 15, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut engaged in a marathon filibuster to press the issue of gun safety. His goal? To bring gun control measures to a vote.

By night's end, Murphy had won assurances from the Republican leadership that they'd allow his amendments to come up for a floor vote. While that doesn't seem like much, it's actually some pretty monumental progress when it comes to gun control — a true "third rail" issue if there is one in Washington.


Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) speaks to reporters on June 15, 2016, after a nearly 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in order to force a vote on gun control. Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images.

Supporters of Murphy's measures have been using social media to share a simple message in the wake of the June 12 shooting in Orlando: #DisarmHate.

The terrorist attack on LGBT clubgoers was carried out with a legally purchased assault-style rifle. The attacker, Omar Mateen, was at one point on the terrorist watch list. Though he was removed following an FBI investigation, he would have still been allowed to purchase the weapon that ended 49 lives even had he remained listed.

That's one of the legal loopholes Murphy and others want addressed; the other is the question of the "gun show loophole."


The hashtag #DisarmHate got a jump start when the group Everytown for Gun Safety launched a coordinated online push.

They, of course, had their own resources to share.



Celebrities, such as Britney Spears, Kristen Bell, and others, joined in.



And then there were the lawmakers who voiced their public support for the amendments.



While it's doubtful these amendments will make it through the legislative hurdles necessary to become law, it's important not to give up.

In addition to championing this vote, Sen. Murphy shared a list of seven things you can do to help put an end to gun violence.


And while the list is filled with suggestions like "call your Senators," "talk to your friends," and "get involved with a gun violence prevention group," it's the final point that's most important: Don't give up. Because while it's easy to become cynical about what seem like Sisyphean efforts to reduce gun violence, we can't change the world with apathy.

And, regardless of how the votes go, it doesn't mean we should give up hope for a better tomorrow.

Instead, those of us who don't want to see another Orlando will simply have to wake up and start fighting anew. Will we, as society, eventually fulfill the goal of disarming hate? One can hope.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

As it turns out, underdog stories can have cats as the main character.

Purrington Cat Lounge, where "adoptable cats roam freely and await your visit" and patrons can pay a small entry fee for the chance to sip coffee alongside feline friends, boasted legendary adoption rates since its conception in January 2015.


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