Boston, we love you.

A deserted Boston Marathon finish line after the bombings. Photo taken by Aaron Tang
A deserted Boston Marathon finish line after the bombings. Photo taken by Aaron Tang

The Boston Marathon race clock read 4:09 when the bombs went off. On Monday, April 15, three people were killed and over 100 were injured from the explosions on Boylston Street, near the marathon’s finish line. We wanted to take a moment to reflect on this tragedy and send our most heartfelt thoughts to all who were affected.

TEDActivator Aaron Tang witnessed the event from his office window and was able to capture the first explosion in photographs. As he posted the images on Flickr on Tuesday, he wrote, “This is sad day for such a great event. I was amazed how fast the medics and nearby citizens took action to run into the smoke, rip off their shirts to help the wounded.” His photos can be found on his Flickr page and as a gallery on CNN[Warning: photos are graphic]

What he witnessed:

In times of unspeakable violence, it is human nature to feel the need to reach out and lend a hand, like those individuals Aaron witnessed. Strangers helping strangers. Communities aiding communities. And this is core to the TEDActive spirit. Comedian Patton Oswalt’s poignant Facebook reaction to the bombings truly resonated with us:

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So, TEDActivators, here’s to standing against the darkness. Here’s to diluting the evil that exists in our world. Here are five actions we can take in the aftermath:

1. Donate to The One Fund Boston.

“At moments like this, we are one state, one city, and one people,” said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. He and Boston Mayor Tom Menino announced The One Fund Boston to raise money to help the families affected by the bombings. John Hancock Financial Services, the lead sponsor of the Boston Marathon, has already made a $1 million donation.

2. Remember: We are all human.

Documentary filmmaker Beth Murphy — a former Boston marathon runner now living in Kabul, Afghanistan — and Kabul citizens took these photos:

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3. Give blood.

The American Red Cross is taking blood donations for the future. Although there is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet patient needs, there’s always a need for more. Having blood ready to use on the shelves helps to save lives when another tragedy happens.

4. Don’t donate money … to a fake charity.

Dozens of fake websites and charities were created moments after the bombing. A fake Twitter handle @_BostonMarathon was recently taken down. They tweeted: “For every retweet we will donate $1.00 for the #BostonMarathon victims #PrayforBoston.” Do your research before you donate. Reputable organizations like The Salvation Army and The American Red Cross are accepting donations.

And above all …

5. Keep running.

Michael Wardian, a Boston Marathon runner told the Washington Post, “Running is something that for me has been life-altering. It’s something that allows me to clear my head — a safe place for me to go. And somebody tried to rob that. I don’t want that to be possible. I don’t want them to have that type of power over me.”

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