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.

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.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

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Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

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Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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