This is love letter. It’s a love letter to my friends at UCLA, my brothers and sisters in Orlando who I’ll never meet, and to the country of my past, present, and future. Being away from you hurts, and as exciting it is to travel the world, I know that my heart will always lie in the soft Southern California sand or under a light Boston snowfall.
First, to my friends at UCLA. A couple of weeks ago, just a drive away from where we grew up; where we experienced our first loves and our first heartbreaks, an armed gunman shot a professor. You were on lockdown, hiding in buildings just meters away from the site of the tragedy. When I woke up in the morning, and read the news and then your Facebook posts about how you were okay, I felt sweet relief because the United States has seen how much worse things could have been. From Manila, I send love.
Next, to my Latinx brothers and sisters in Orlando. Your faces and names cross my screen every morning. They are beautiful and radiate in bright LED. They are the names and faces of cousins and classmates. The queer, Latinx community you created at Pulse reminds me of individuals at Harvard who have made me feel part of something real, something less hostile than certain spaces around me. From Manila, I send love.
Finally, to the country I love. It’s simple—and important—to politicize your events, but today I want to appreciate you, even with your blemishes. You’ve provided me a springboard and you’ve offered my family a life better than the one my parents knew. Although hateful rhetoric pulls at your seams, your resilience makes you a home. In your darkest moments, the dream you promise shines through. From Manila, I send love.
The optimism that people’s goodness outweighs the hate they carry in their hearts is what keeps me moving and writing. In times of sorrow, op-eds, filibusters, and trauma, love cannot be ignored. The way you love your neighbors, friends, and strangers begs to be amplified, now more than ever. Remember the tender moments, and create more with everyone you encounter. For every hateful act, there will be a thousand good ones as long as we continue sending love.
Ruben E. Reyes Jr. '19, a Crimson editorial writer, lives in Leverett House.
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