#WeAreOrlando: Together We Are Stronger than Bigotry and Hate
I know that all of us have been struggling today to grapple with our outrage and our grief over the senseless and vicious attack on LGBTQ+ people and our friends at Pulse in Orlando. To know that an LGBTQ+ club was targeted for the latest and worst mass shooting in this gun-infested country is horrible beyond words.
To suspect that some will use this tragedy to advance their own agenda of hatred and bigotry is also cause for deep concern. It reminds us of the responsibility that we – as communities of people who are committed to justice and equity for all – have to one another.
At SAGE, our hearts go out to all who have suffered, and will suffer, as a result of the tragedy in Orlando. We stand strong with every community and every person who is committed to building a society that is far more just, equitable and safe than the one in which we currently live.
Our elders remind us that the attack on Pulse is only the latest, and the worst, attack on LGBTQ+ clubs. Prior attacks targeted, to name just a few, the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, where 32 lives were lost to arson in 1973; the Otherwise Lounge, a lesbian club in Atlanta that was bombed in 1997; the Backstreet Café in Roanoke, which was sprayed with gunfire in 2000, and Neighbors in Seattle, which was set ablaze in 2013.
These and many other acts of senseless violence have been perpetrated against our communities by attackers from many different backgrounds and traditions. Their only common denominator was hatred and bigotry. It is that hatred and bigotry – in any form and targeted against any community – against which we once again stand strong.
In grief and struggle,
There is a 7 PM vigil tonight, Monday, June 13, at the Stonewall Inn in NYC. Details are available on the SAGE Facebook page for those who would like to attend. Information on similar events being organized in communities all across the country can be found here. If you are attending or know of a vigil taking place in your local community, please share in the comments.
In light of the Orlando tragedy, SAGE and the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) released a joint statement that illustrates how all groups dedicated to peace and justice must come together against bigotry and violence: “Many constituents of SAGE are Latino and many constituents of NHCOA are LGBTQ+. Our diversity is a source of strength, and must not be used to create division.”