Why Belonging & Acceptance Is at Our Core

Building Belonging this Holiday Season

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

I had written something completely different for todayโ€™s newsletter. It was drafted and ready to go. I was ready to ride off into the holiday downtime on a bed of comfy pillows, nourishing vegan food, and quality time with my loved ones.

But then Colorado Springs happened and it became another reminder of the countless people who walk around on a daily basis with an invisible hole in their hearts.

That hole comes from our intrinsic need to belong.

Where Have All the Safe Spaces Gone?

Itโ€™s taken me a few days to reflect and absorb what happened in Colorado Springs for many reasons. Itโ€™s been difficult to process the tragedy not only in Club Q but around the country and world.

Graphic cred: Cami Zea

The LGBTQ+ community is losing its community spaces as capitalism and patriarchal white supremacist violence envelopes our worlds.

Itโ€™s heartbreaking because itโ€™s been a gradual slipping. A frog as the water rises and boils. Watching, knowing, but not being able to do anything about it.

๐ŸŒˆ Queer bars are disappearing across the U.S. to make way for more economic venues

๐ŸŒˆ Our spaces online have been corrupted by capitalism and made unsafe for us (Twitter and donโ€™t forget Tumblr)

๐ŸŒˆ Threats of violence have skyrocketed as the rhetoric of โ€œgroomingโ€ has increased

I mourn for the people of Colorado Springs, but I also mourn for our whole community and all other marginalized people. We deserve more. We deserve safe spaces.

But safe spaces are not merely about feeling safe. They are about joy, the fullness of life, our own freedom, and most importantly belonging.

Every humanโ€™s core need is to belong.

In many ways, the violence we see is also about belonging. The need to stick with โ€œyour peopleโ€ and the fear of losing them is partially why these young white men resort to violence. In their minds, they must prove their worth amongst their tribe.

It breaks my heart to know that there are so many scared kids out there who cannot express themselves fully due to the bigotry around them. Many of the people at Club Q were once or are still scared kids including the shooter. The judgments and anger from people who are afraid of self-expression harm all of us by attempting to force us to be something else. The shrinking of yourself to โ€œfit in,โ€ the โ€œgo along to get alongโ€ mentality. We all do it at some point in certain spaces, but for some, it becomes their entire identity.

The alternative, of course, is why patrons were at Club Q in the first place. Rather than performing belonging, they were living it through dance, joy, singing, and laughter.

It is within us as humans to want belonging.

Building Belonging This Season

I just came back from Florida, a bastion of right-wing extremism as evidenced by Ron Desantisโ€™ reign. But my story is not one of hate but one of love.

We went to visit my partner's grandparents. The unconditional love in the truest sense of the word that her Christian Evangelical grandparents gave us was overwhelming. Before even stepping over the threshold, we were greeted with a warm glow and steadiness that encircled us in a protective layer away from the world and those that donโ€™t want our love to be seen.

That is what love and belonging are all about. The feeling of safety and acceptance that allows us to fully express ourselves and be seen fully.

We are all different & unique but all of us have the capacity to accept.
The LGBTQ+ community deserves love, joy, and laughter, but all we ask from others is acceptance. I believe there are more allies than there are enemies. There are more people on this planet who accept and love us. It is always the right time to stand up and speak out against hate and violence. I hope no matter who you are, we can all stand up and speak out against hate no matter where it comes from and whom itโ€™s targeting.

For all celebrating a sense of togetherness this week, I invite you to reflect on what belonging means to you and send that energy to all who are marginalized, suffering or feeling empty without a sense of belonging. I for one will be spreading that energy far and wide to all who need it. โ™ฅ๏ธ

In Solidarity & Community,


This was written on the ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone people. To find which ancestral land you reside on visit: https://native-land.ca/

For tips on how to celebrate the holiday, take a look at Hueโ€™s doโ€™s & donโ€™ts of thanksgiving.

๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support communicators, organizations, and activists ๐Ÿฅต to avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change.

Learn more about the Roots of Change Agency.