Like you, at Apicha Community Health Center we grieve our dead and injured brothers and sisters--this weekend’s victims of a heinous act of violence. Like you, we are sorting through our emotions, in what seems like a futile attempt to make sense of an act of hate and terror. The sadness. The anger. The helplessness. The fear.
Like you, our dull grief sharpens into something very real as details of the tragedy emerge. Our hearts ache as we learn the names and see the young, smiling faces of the men and women gathered to celebrate Puerto Rican Pride at Pulse Nightclub. They remind us of our patients, our friends, and ourselves.
We remember last year at this time we were celebrating momentous victories for the LGBT community and the milestones reached by steadily breaking down the barriers that marginalize us.
Just as we reached the height of intense joyful moments from last year’s Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, this weekend’s tragic events show that those victories can easily be snatched away and bring us down the depths of pain and sadness. But as we have always done in the past, we will not allow the senseless loss of those who died and those who continue to fight for their lives in the hospital’s operating rooms to be in vain. We have gone this far, we must go on.
While this without a doubt is a hate crime directed at the LGBT community. It is as much an assault on everyone who believes in freedom, diversity and an inclusive society. This was a direct challenge to every civil rights victory and an affront to everyone who believes in the intrinsic humanity in all people.
As time passes and our grief subsides, we must refocus our efforts to achieve equality for everyone. All people of different sexual orientations, different gender identities, different races, and different religions must come together to continue to protect the victories won after years of struggle. The push back against those who peddle hate and division will be as vehement as the sound and impact of those assault weapons. We must go on. Now is not the time for hatred. Now is the time to turn and embrace each other and offer acceptance, compassion, and love. Now is the time to unite.
Resources created by Apicha CHC about this tragedy: