Love & Peace

What does love mean to you? Who or what do you love and how do you show your love and care?

Solidarity from Chicago to Orlando ― June 14, 2016 at the LCC

Transcribed messages from the Orlando Memorial hosted by the UIC Centers for Cultural Understanding & Social Change. Heritage Gardeners planted fig trees in memory of the lives taken in the Orlando tragedy on June 12, 2016 at Pulse nightclub.

  • What heartache. Still no words… Just sending love & light. <3 Toda la luz necesaria. — Anonymous

  • For all the 49 people & their families <3 > hate — Anonymous

  • My heart goes out to the family & friends of the victims. Stay strong! They will be loved & remembered. — Anonymous

  • Trees heal! #uic #sustainability #pride #orlando — Anonymous

  • We can not break down after an attack on what makes us true. Same-sex marriage, race, religion, and sex is what America is about and we must unite. We are only stronger… we are Orlando strong. — Anonymous

  • I tell people I LOVE YOU!!! — Anonymous

  • Love prevails over all! Your life will not be forgotten. We can only continue to plant the seeds of love, hope, and compassion. We love you! — Anonymous

  • All lives matter! Each one of these mattered to the creator RIP — Anonymous

  • To anyone who feels unsafe, your sexuality and gender is valid. I am so sorry not everyone is accepting, but you are not just the butt-end of a stupid joke. You are a valuable life. — Anonymous

  • Love is love L-M-M 6/12/16 — Anonymous

  • We must continue to build & hold – create safe spaces. “We must love & protect each other.” Fuerza & Amor <3 — Anonymous

  • Love, all my love, all my heartache, all my sorrow, all my brokenness, all my tears & fears. All my hope. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 — Anonymous

  • My heart is heavy but know there are spaces to heal & feel safe. Peace & love — Anonymous

  • LOVE others no mater what identity – Mark C.

  • Sweet brothers, sisters, and non-binary siblings: We will stand in your honor and we will fight till our dying breaths. — Anonymous

  • I’m sorry this happened. May you feel safer now wherever you are. We love you. <3 — Anonymous

  • Chicago <3’s Orlando — Anonymous

  • Love, Compassion, Light. Supporting LGBTQA peoples — Anonymous

  • Nothing but good vibes and love moving forward. In loving memory of all lives lost due to gun violence. — Anonymous

  • We stand together <3 — Anonymous

  • Love one another & have faith in each other. — Anonymous

  • Dear you, We will make this world a community of love. May peace lead you to a better place. — Anonymous

  • Smile = charity J Your smile is always a sign of love! Be respectful as you’d want to be respected! — Anonymous

  • Seeing their names and ages is especially tough. They’re like my friend’s names, they’re our age, they were doing what we love to do – dancing, loving, enjoying our community. We can’t stop, it’s all the more important to keep doing just that.
  • I <3 you! — Anonymous

  • Respect all lives & stand up for what’s right <3 Together we are strong, together we stand — Anonymous

  • We will stand. <3 LOVE — Anonymous

  • Do not allow hate to get in the way of achieving what you love and what you believe in, but rather use this time to gather LOVE & united we will send a bigger message that hate would never be able to send. — Anonymous

  • Sending my thoughts & prayers to my cousin who lost several of his friends that night at a club he regularly works at. — Anonymous

  • Love and support from Disability Resource Center as we stand together in this time of loss. — DRC staff

  • I hope you rest in peace. Everyone will remember you. — Anonymous

  • Each 1 Teach 1 Love not Hate. May our elders love and protect you always! #UNDOCLGBTQLUV — Anonymous

  • Love is Good — Anonymous

  • I’m truly saddened by the Orlando tragedy. I will show love by standing by, standing up to anyone imposing restrictions. Love is love. — Anonymous

  • My condolences and heartfelt sympathy to every family! Peace, we believe in! — Anonymous

  • We stand together to anyone feeling unsafe in their own skin, know that as allies we are here to lend a hand. Love Trumps Hate! — Anonymous

  • Nobody deserves to be hated based on their faith, race, gender, age, ethnic group, or anything. Each is only to be judged through their piety. SOLIDARITY FROM CHICAGO! — Anonymous

  • Puerto Rican Parade – Saturday June 18th, Division & Western @ exactly 1:30 — Anonymous

  • Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Therefore, I will continue to show AND teach love in all the work that I do. — Your ally, André

  • SOLIDARITY FROM CHICAGO TO ORLANDO (rainbow) — Anonymous

  • Chicago stands with the families and loved ones of those that were taken too soon. Chicago <3 Orlando — Anonymous

  • The world needs our love. I will stand against hate. — Anonymous

  • We are all with you & our hearts are broken over this senseless act. Please don’t ever stop the love & the fight. — Anonymous

  • I pledge to work towards peace, justice, equity, equality. Love > everything — Anonymous

  • I think I’m more affected by this than other shootings or disasters because it so easily could have been me. I’m queer, I’m Latina, I have friends in Orlando who just didn’t go out that night. I hate that so many people are resorting to hate out of this. Islamophobia and homophobia are linked and both lead to awful things. I also hope we can respond with action to actually prevent deaths like these in the future through gun reform. — Anonymous

  • Thinking for you all. — Anonymous

  • My thoughts & prayers are with the families of the victims and injured. We need more love, acceptance, compassion, & less of hate <3 — Anonymous

  • Nuestra familia Latinx — Anonymous

Spring 2015 Open House ― January 14, 2015 at the LCC

  • I was receiving an award in a summer program when i was in high school. My whole family was going! It was great, i gave a speech and made people laugh. It ended well so everyone was giving me lectures afterwards what were inspiring. My grandmother couldn’t even speak, she just cried because she was so proud, it was funny but very emotional at the same time. Family, thats what love is, not just relatives; the felling of a home is what love is to me. my grandma was just amazing. — Anonymous

  •  I love: My family, Chicago, VIC!, Life! — Anonymous

  • When we think about “Love,” about that powerful yet meaningless four letters word, people often think about romantic relationships. I say powerful because it can make a person do about almost anything and everything for another person. The one they “love”, but love or at least the word can become meaningless if its just said but it is not followed by any actions. When i think about love, I think of loving the self and taking care of the mind, body, and spirit. I think of how self-care often gets lost while taking care of others that might get lost in time and space. – Anonymous

  • In 1970, I made the decision to become a advertising/corporate photographer. Thus started my love for photography, up to today 2015 and beyond. I had spent ten years as a commercial artist with strong visual training, and experience. After surviving the advertising field, I came to the conclusion that there was no hispanics photographers in the field. I would place myself as a representative of the mexican people in my chosen field. As the years passed, people in the field often told me that i was the only one in advertising that the had encountered. I love what i do and that i do it so well. — Anonymous

  • My parents met on the L train. My dad lived in the suburbs, but he got a summer job working for the CTA, so he was new to the system and asked my mom “where was the merchandise mart?” Here is a guy in a CTA uniform who didn’t know theres a brown line stop called “Merchandise Mart”. She taught it was an amusing pickup line, but he really didn’t know! Well she didn’t give her number to just anyone so after they got to chit chat and hit it off, she said he could come to her job at the walgreens on lincoln and lawrence, not thinking he’d really come. But to her surprise he came and to his surprise, her whole family worked there! He met the whole Guerrero household in one fell swoop. My Grandpa Joe who owned it, my Grandma Mary who did the books, my Uncle Manuel who stocked the shelves, my Aunt Ivonne who worked the makeup counter, my Aunt Ins who served in the snack shop cafe, and my mom right at the register. Well my mom said after he didn’t run away she was really impressed! They’ve been together 36 years now! So don’t be afraid to look up from your cell phone on the L, you never know who you could meet. — Lena

Tell us a story about LOVE… ― February 14, 2013 at the LCC

  • It comes when you least expect it… — Anonymous

  • Our first kiss was under a tree in front of UH in the middle of fall weather. — Anonymous

  • I remember when we first started dating. I never thought you would have such an impact in my life. You were my first everything; the first woman I kissed, the first woman I went out on a date with, the first woman I made love to. I got lost in your life and in your love_ never thought we would break up or separate. When we did, I tried so hard not to think about you. When I looked into another woman’s eyes I would see yours. When I would kiss another woman’s lips I would feel yours. All of this I kept to myself and never told you because I was afraid, but looking back I wish I would have. Now that we’re older I see you trying to be happy and I try to hard not to think that I may never have true love in my life again. One thing is for sure, that you will always be my first love no matter what. I love you. — Anonymous

  • It was on May of 2011 when I received a call that a beautiful dog needed a forever home. He came from a dog shelter and he really needed the care and love from someone. I agreed to spend some time with the little guy. It was like love at first sight! He’s been my #1 little buddy ever since! So happy he found me. ♥ KAPI — Edith

  • I fell in love with him the first moment I laid eyes on him! He was just so beautiful. I will love you forever and always my nephew Netzita ♥ — Anonymous

  • The love for my community began in high school. I did not realize that I was a minority until I went to my community high school in Little Village. That was when I realized that the educational system is not equal and my community faces many disparities; such as health, economic, and education. That moment I knew my passion of what I wanted to do was advocate for my community and educate others to do so. Today I continue to push for social justice and even though it takes time, my love for my community and activism grows. La Lucha Sigue… — Anonymous

  • My aunt and uncle are a true love story. They both came from Mexico, but were on separate sides of the country. Eventually they both settled somewhere in Chicago. When they met, it was love at first sight. Since they did not have much money, they couldn’t afford a fancy wedding. They go married at the courthouse. They have three amazing boys. The boys see how their father shows how much he loves their mom every day. Twenty-five years later, my aunt and uncle renewed their vows in front of the whole family. Their reception was at the Drake Hotel. My uncle performed with a Mariachi band, and sang a beautiful love song to my aunt. He looked at her like she was the only one in the room. I know the boys (my cousins) will be great husbands someday. They have a great man to show them how to love a woman. — Anonymous

  • I’ve been incredibly blessed to have so much love in my life from my family, friends, boyfriend, dog and community here in Chicago! No matter how hard things get, I’ve never had to go a day without feeling loved and I’m so thankful. I can only hope more love can come my way. — Anonymous

What’s Love Got to do With It? ― February 14, 2012 at the LCC

  • During the months of December and January, I gave food to a Mexican immigrant man. Back in December of last year, he knocked at my apartment door and asked for something to eat. Usually homeless people ask for food in the streets but not at your home! This man really developed on me; a sense of frustration, sadness and impotence. It is really sad seeing a man begging for food. I did feed him for a couple weeks. I used to heat the food and gave it to him. Last week he as usual, I gave him the food and he said: “Thanks so much, I am really sorry for the inconvenience, I really appreciated all this help, this is the last one, I already got a job” This made me reflect in a very deep way: What are a mess our public officials and corporations are doing with our communities? How many more people would end up like him? How long are we will handle this bad economy? What else can do? What can we do to change structural problems in this country? — Anonymous

  • Won’t you think I’m pretty… When I’m standing top the lit city, And I’ll take your hand and pick you up and keep you there so you can see it, so long as you’re alive and care, I promise to take you there. So long as you’re alive and care….We’ll drink and dance the night away! — Anonymous

  • Here is my story about love. We date without restrictions. No anniversaries. No silly holidays. No bullshit. No flowers. No apologizing. We just like to be together. I don’t need him. He doesn’t need me. We don’t need each other—but we want each other. I think of relationships as a bonus to life. It’s never necessary—you don’t need someone else to be happy. I think saying goodbye for 4 months was the best decision we’ve ever made. Relationships are stupid. And I couldn’t give a shit because it makes me happy. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been 🙂 — Anonymous

  • One time I was at a show, punk show, supporting my friend’s band. This one guy with funny clothes and crazy dreads asked me to dance. I rejected him because I didn’t know him, one year later we met again… he won me over w/ a pomegranate. We sat a coffee shop for hours sharing fruit and playing Othello. He has been the best thing that has happened to me! — Anonymous

  • Love is about the emotional and spiritual connection that people share. To me love is related to my feelings about family and friends and all living things. Often I experience the feeling of being loved by those closest to me. It’s a warm reassuring feeling that is deeply spiritual. My family and friends know that love is always there and on many occasions we do not have to express it, because it just emanates from within. — Anonymous

  • I fell in love with someone and I felt he was going to be my only one…Unfortunately, he broke my heart and I loathed him. I could not get over him and for a while I hated men. Later I learned to realize that I needed to forgive him, because if it was not for my first heart break, I would not have become the stronger woman I am today. — Anonymous

  • Mi madre y padre (my mother and father), the only memories I have of you are on an adoption document.I don’t know your facial features, personality, nor tone of voice. What I do know is that I love you. I was able to have an amazing life because of the choices you made. I will never meet you but will always love you. Te amo, ahora y para siempre. — Su hijo (your son), Luis

  • This one time I was riding my bike really high one time and I passed these 2 dudes in Pilsen so I stopped, turned my bike around and went up and introduced myself. So random that was in August. I got really close to one of the guys, and my reality and perception of what love is/how to view the world around me drastically changed for the better. We became so close physically, mentally, emotionally, intimate moments. We’ve since decided not to be together to find our own balance in the world and to grow as spirits moving in this eternal wind. We both feel the same towards each other and feel stronger about each other everyday. I think that’s what love is. — Anonymous

  • My sisters + my cousin are my world. Since our moms passed way, we are more connected. We make each other laugh + happy. Totally blessed to have them in my life. — Anonymous

  • Real love: What is that? I have recently fallen love with a beautiful human being. A being that doesn’t judge you, that makes you a better person for the simple reason that they make you love yourself more than you ever thought possible. Sharing political views w/ them , along with morning coffee is the best. Me gustas tu! — Anonymous

  • For me all LOVE stories are born out of RESPECT. One of my greatest loves +respects is that for mother earth. Many times when we think about being “eco-friendly” we think about new innovations, but we must remember and honor the wisdom of our grandparents/ancestors. They knew how to live w/ nature in harmony, and be resourceful. The “Bule” is a perfect example of that it’s made out of dried squash and has a dried corn cob as a lid. It is used to carry water. — Anonymous

  • The ability to put others before your own needs. Putting aside what one is doing to listen or be there for that special someone. MY parents are working long hours for my sister and I have a chance to be successful. I love them with all my heart. There is not a day I’m not thankful for what they have given me. Love you mom + dad 🙂 — Anonymous

  • My last relationship lasted for around 2 years. It got to the point where it started with love and ended with nothing but comfort. When things ended, that comfort was rattled but there was no love to be taken away. So, in the end I didn’t find myself heart broken, but rather happy and free. I look at life more as a collection of things I haven’t tried yet. And then upon getting out there and “trying new things” I lay to rest one night in a foreign room. I’ve known her for a while but I never actually “knew” her. That aside, she is a really cool girl that I wouldn’t mind getting to know better. The only thing is I don’t want to move too fast and I’m a little confused on how exactly I should be feeling. It’s only been a couple months since the end of my loveless relationship and I feel as though I’m ready to find it again. I don’t know if I’ll find it in this girl or if she’s even interested but despite my confusion of how things work, or should work, I’d like to try and see. I’m still happy. I’m still free. And I won’t give that up. I’ve spent so many days in sadness. I have so much love to give. I’m ready for a change. I’d like a change. Not just in my perspective of life but in an Earth-shattering revelation of love. That might be a bit heavy, forward, etc. but its what I want. Maybe I’ve found someone to find that with. Maybe I haven’t. Who knows? Who cares? Not me. I don’t know anything and I just want to learn. — Anonymous

  • Xico, Mango (cats) and Kapi (mix beagle) always brighten my day. When I get home they greet me at the door + comfort me when I’m feeling blue. Their love is unconditional + everyday I’m reminded that rescuing them from the streets or abusive homes was the best decision I made. To me my pets are much more than pets…they are my kids! When they get sick I freak out, rushing them to the vet’s office! The care and love I have for those three is never ending! XOXO Edith

  • I met my boyfriend at a Greek probate. The following week after adding my sorority sister before me (his fraternity brother gave him her name instead of mine) he found and added me on Facebook. We were constantly texting and I was actually taking public transportation just so I could spend time with him. (I would ALWAYS drive to school because I wanted to sleep as much as I could.) I then walked him to his class in Lecture Center D one day and as I hugged him a bye  he stole a kiss from me! 😀 I was too happy. Then after a week or two he asked me out at his fraternity’s party. May 6th 2011 was one of the happiest days of my life. I ♥ my conquistador  ‘Jose’ — Anonymous

  • In 2010, I struggled a lot with my health. I lost friends because I had to be in the hospital a lot and at time I just felt very lonely because of that. My cousin had a dog at the time that was having pups and little did I know I would end up with one of them. I still struggle at moments with my health but I have my dog there who loves me unconditionally. I’m glad I have the best friend now. — Anonymous

  • Yo no creo en la iglesia. En lo que creo es en el poder de los humanos para amar. Amarce el uno al otro (I don’t believe in the church or any specific religion, I honestly believe in the power of human beings to love each other). — Anonymous