Remembering The Victims Of Pulse Nightclub Four Years Later

At 2am on June 12th, 2016, a single gunman entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida and committed the largest act of terror and violence on the LGBTQ+ community and one of the deadly shootings in U.S. history. We lost 49 lives that day, predominantly black and brown LGBTQ+ mainly of latinx of Puerto Rican descent who were attending “Latin Night” at the club. The impacts of the attack are still felt across the LGBTQ+ and city of Orlando years later, with murals and rainbows serving as a reminder that we will not let hate win while, at the same time, honoring the victims and survivors impacted by the tragic event.

This somber day finds us in Pride Month in the midst of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the greatest social rights movements of our generation, we urge everyone to remember the innocent lives we lost and to #HonorThemWithAction.

Michael Belvedere, was a bartender and performer at Pulse as drag queen Axel Andrews, and recounted his story back in 2016 to Billboard.

We cannot overlook the impact of this horrific massacre on the LGBTQ+ latinx community and to tell another part of the story that demonstrates the complexity of  hate in the U.S. which hits especially hard during this time in history.  Patience Carter, a black survivor of the attack, painfully recounted that the gunman didn’t want to kill black people. Carter shared that as she hid  in the bathroom to shelter, the gunman entered and reportedly asked, “Are there any black people in here?” Carter said that she was too terrified to reply, but a black man in a bathroom stall answered, “Yes, there are about six or seven of us.”  The gunman, who was born in New York of parents from Afghanistan,  added, “You know, I don’t have a problem with black people. This is about my country. You guys suffered enough.”  Carter lost her best friend at the hands of the gunman, Akyra Murray, a young black woman who was only 18 years old.

A memorial is being developed at the nightclub and a museum is being planned at a location several blocks away. Both had been slated to open in 2022 before the pandemic. This year, during Pride Month, we also encourage everyone to support the black LGBTQ+ community, especially the trans community as a fact sheet produced by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports: “Transgender people were 3.7 times more likely to experience police violence compared to cisgender survivors and victims. Transgender people were 7 times more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police compared to cisgender survivors and victims.”

Remembering Pulse Nightclub and the 49 innocent lives we lost on June 12th, 2016. As we honor their names, we also urge everyone to #HonorThemWithAction

Stanley Almodovar III, 23
Amanda Alvear, 25
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Antonio D. Brown, 30
Darryl R. Burt II, 29
Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Luis D. Conde, 39
Cory J. Connell, 21
Tevin E. Crosby, 25
Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Deonka D. Drayton, 32
Mercedez M. Flores, 26
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Juan R. Guerrero, 22
Paul T. Henry, 41
Frank Hernandez, 27
Miguel A. Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Jason B. Josaphat, 19
Eddie J. Justice, 30
Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Kimberly Morris, 37
Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
Jerald A. Wright, 31

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