Saturday night’s shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando is a chilling and painful reminder of the hate and bias that continues to plague our nation. While the LGBT community has seen much progress in recent years, this incident demonstrates how vulnerable our community remains. Further proof was evidenced when hours after the Pulse shooting, a car full of automated weapons was discovered near the Los Angeles Pride parade.
Even more poignant is that this tragedy comes during gay pride month – a month in which we celebrate our legacy and our dignity, our right to live and love openly, and our very basic right to be who we are.
President Barack Obama on Sunday called the shooting, the deadliest in American history, a “horrific massacre of innocent people.”
Everyone should be mobilizing in their communities to express not only their sadness and support, but also their anger at the senseless gun violence that continues to claim the lives of so many of our LGBT brothers and sisters, as well as those in other marginalized communities. We must make our media, our community members and our politicians aware that words have meaning; that the vitriol, whether spewed by our family members, our neighbors, or our politicians, leads to fear, misunderstanding and hatred.
The outpouring of love and support from across the nation and the world are evidence that we do not fall to hatred, but rise above it. Across the nation, donations of money and, more locally, blood, are pouring in from young and old, gay and straight, Muslims, Christians, Jews and agnostics. Love sees no defining lines, it is rooted in acceptance and understanding.
Our hearts are with the family, friends and loved ones who are mourning. Now, more than ever, we must come together to support and care for our community. We will rally around each other as we have for decades, resilient and strong, and show the world that love wins.