Exactly six months have passed since we were all awoken by the earth shattering news that has permanently been etched into our minds. Forty-nine innocent, beautiful, and vibrant lives, each in their prime, with passions, hopes, and dreams yet to be discovered were stolen from us, and many more left to carry with them the physical and emotional scars of this tragedy. We still ask ourselves questions to which we may never truly know the answers. Many still wonder, what could have happened "if only..." We hold one another closely, recalling joyous times, filled with laughter and love, bringing the spirit of compassion to life, even momentarily.
On this day, we reflect on our grief, on our remorse, and strive to honor the memories of those that are no longer at our side, in flesh, but rather encompass our hearts and souls with their joyful spirits. As I reflect on my own grief, I recall the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, "Birth and death are only a door through which we go in and out...Tomorrow we shall meet again or even before. We shall always be meeting again at the true source, Always meeting again on the myriad paths of life.”
Regardless of where the journey of life takes us, we are blessed to carry in our hearts the cherished memories of those that have passed on. The love and light they brought to our lives will never fade, and will forever keep us warm on days such as these.
As we hold a moment of silent meditation and prayer for those that have passed, we extend a loving embrace to those that work tirelessly to bring support to all others that have been impacted by this tragedy.
My hope, and prayer, is that we will hold this day to honor nuestra familia, and to examine the ways in which we can actively take a role in bringing about healing, peace, safety, and security for our communities that have historically felt marginalized and silenced. Learning to address the needs of our queer and transgender communities of color, in addition to other marginalized identities, ensures that we can, and will, prevent future violence from impacting our lives and allow us to live our most authentic truths in a society that is welcoming, affirming, and embracing.
We invite you to pause, momentarily, and reflect on the cherished memories you hold of those that have passed, sending them your love and joy, and extending those feelings to others in our communities that feel this grief.
To those walking along the path to healing, know that we are there by your side. To those that are overcome with sorrow and fear, know that we extend our arms with an open embrace and offer you love. In community, we can and will heal.