Photo Credit - Robert Knapman Photography
Fifty people died in a queer venue.
Another 53 were injured.
Our sanctuary has been contaminated with the world's hate.
Isis have claimed responsibility for the attack, and maybe they did have something to do with this heinous crime, or maybe they are just want to be seen as the cause of all fear that we experience. It is for this reason, we cannot let fear and hatred separate us. It is times like now that we need to stand in solidarity with the Islamic community and recognise that oppression in any form is unacceptable.
It seems more likely that this attack comes from a hate filled and misguided individual. It's all too easy to break this down and say, 'oh he's a lunatic' but as soon as you do this, you diminish the very real homophobia at play here. I don't understand how a person can feel so much hatred that they are driven to kill 50 people and injure another 53, but I do know that as soon as I try to explain it, or put it in context, it's a step closer to understanding it, which is dangerously close to making these actions permissible.
Events like this force us to have hard conversations. Race, religion, sexuality and gender identity can coexist peacefully. Queer Latinx people have suffered a horrible attack. Islamic people are being blamed and this is not the answer. Islamophobia will not heal the hurts, it just creates more. Now more than ever, we need stand together and give agency to the people who need it.
Sometimes society needs tragedy to create positive change. In Australia, the restrictions on firearms came as a result of the Port Arthur massacre. Hopefully this will be the incident that triggers a realisation that America needs gun control. Many say that it's the person who kills, not the gun however guns make it far too easy for someone to kill another person. I can only hope that something positive can come of something so tragic.
I have purposely not mentioned the name of the attacker. He will be remembered. He should be remembered. By remembering people like him, we stand a chance of not repeating these atrocities but today, I want to remember the people who have lost their lives.
They have become unwilling martyrs of the modern world.
Yours in Solidarity.*
Edward Sotomayor Jr. - 34 years
Stanley Almodovar III - 23 years
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo - 20 years
Juan Ramon Guerrero - 22 years
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera - 36 years
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz - 22 years
Luis S. Vielma - 22 years
Kimberly Morris - 37 years
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice - 30 years
Darryl Roman Burt II - 29 years
Deonka Deidra Drayton - 32 years
Alejandro Barrios Martinez - 21 years
Anthony Luis Laureano Disla - 25 years
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez - 35 years
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazques - 50 years
Amanda Alvear - 25 years
Martin Benitez Torres - 33 years
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon - 37 years
Mercedez Marisol Flores - 26 years
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado - 35 years
Gilberto Ramon Silva Mendez - 25 years
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez - 31 years
Oscar A Aracena-Montero - 26 years
Enrique L. Rios Jr. 25 years
*26 victims remain unidentified.