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Four Years Later, and We Still Remember

Four years have passed since that terrible night on June 12th where forty-nine innocent and beloved lives were taken from this world. Forty-nine dreams stolen. Forty-nine hopes robbed. Forty-nine families forever changed. We hold our forty-nine angels close to our hearts now, and always. We hold those who survived that horrific night close to our hearts and send them love, light, and courage as they continue their journey to heal from this terrible tragedy. Today we say your names, we honor your memories, and we uplift your legacies.

Stanley Almodovar III • Amanda L. Alvear • Oscar A. Aracena Montero • Rodolfo Ayala Ayala • Antonio "Tony" Brown • Darryl Roman Burt II • Angel Candelario-Padro • Juan Chavez Martinez • Luis D. Conde • Cory James Connell • Tevin Eugene Crosby • Deonka "Dee Dee" Drayton • Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández • Leroy Valentin Fernandez • Mercedez Marisol Flores • Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz • Juan Ramon Guerrero • Paul Terrell Henry • Frank Hernandez • Miguel Angel Honorato • Javier Jorge Reyes • Jason Benjamin Josaphat • Eddie Jamal Droy Justice • Anthony Luis Laureano Disla • Christopher Andrew Leinonen • Alejandro Barrios Martinez • Brenda Marquez McCool • Gilberto R. Silva Menendez • Kimberly Jean Morris • Akyra Monet Murray • Luis Omar Ocasio Capo • Gerardo A. Ortiz Jimenez • Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera • Joel Rayon Paniagua • Jean C. Mendez Perez • Enrique L. Rios Jr. • Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez • Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado • Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz • Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan • Eddie Sotomayor Jr. • Shane Evan Tomlinson • Martin Benitez Torres • Jonathan A. Camuy Vega • Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez • Luis Sergio Vielma • Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez • Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon • Jerry Wright

In June when we are meant to decorate our world with rainbows and exclaim that #LoveisLove, for so many in the LGBTQ+ community the wounds of four years ago are still so raw. We're reminded that the spirit of pride runs through our veins, and that our commitment to honoring our fallen with action must come with a tireless commitment to challenging injustice and fighting for those that are no longer with us in body, but in spirit.

Are community must sit with the onslaught of violence against our Black families. George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Dominique Fells, Riah Milton, and many others. As our community takes to the streets to honor their legacies and demand justice, we must hold one another and our broader LGBTQ+ community to account in dismantling systemic racism. With our hearts already heavy from the lives taken by police brutality and hate violence, we mustn't falter in our collective efforts to transform our grief into action that radically changes our world into a more justice, equitable, and peaceful place for all people. It is in this spirit that the Contigo Fund has chosen to create the Organizing for All Black Lives Fund, to support the work of Black LGBTQ+ led efforts that build to make our community safer and more affirming. Click here to make a contribution to the fund and uplift the call to honor our fallen with action.

While our world has drastically changed due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the onePULSE Foundation has committed to building a space to honor our fallen and allow our community to make their offerings and pay respect. They will be hosting a public vigil and memorial service this evening at 7:00pm EST. Click here to view the service in English. Haga clic aquí para ver el servicio en Español.

As you navigate today, remember to be gentle with yourselves. In community we can find strength and support for one another, and are blessed to offer what we can to those around us. Today is going to be difficult, be reminded that we all have emotional limits and know that we can and must slow down when we are beginning to feel overwhelmed.

On days like these we can all use some support. The Orlando United Assistance Center is always available to offer their help. Don't hesitate to call if you also need support. 407-500-HOPE (4673).

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