Today marks the five-year anniversary of the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL that took the lives of 49 mostly Black and Brown LGBTQ people who were out enjoying their night in what they considered a safe space.
As a native Orlandoan, and someone who started going to Pulse when they first opened in 2004, I will never forget the feeling of shock, grief, and anger that coursed through my body when I first saw the news about the horrendous loss of life in a place I once considered a safe space myself.
In the five years since that horrible night there has been lots of introspection and discussion about how we ensure that a tragedy like Pulse never happens to our community again. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much concrete action to ensure the actual safety for our community and our families since then.
From the continuing spate of anti-transgender violence that has claimed the lives of a record number of transgender individuals in the United States, to a wave of state bills around the country aiming to strip rights from the LGBTQ community, it is clear that attacks on our community did not end with the shooting at Pulse. In fact, just days before the anniversary of the tragedy in Orlando, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a heinous bill barring transgender kids from participating in school sports and vetoed funding for mental health services for the survivors of Pulse.
So today, as we say the names of the 49 we lost on June 12, 2016, we must also use the day to honor them with action. Whether it be contacting your state legislators and governors to demand that they protect trans kids, or contacting your senators to urge them to pass the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ folks across the country from discrimination, on this somber anniversary we must rededicate ourselves to eradicating hate and bigotry in all its forms.
Join NCLR today as we #HonorThemWithAction today and every day. Together, we will take the memory of the 49 that we lost at Pulse five years ago and use it to make sure that our LGBTQ community and our families are protected from discrimination and never again have to feel the collective pain we shared on June 12, 2016.
Christopher R. Vasquez
NCLR Communications Director