June has been a somber month for Pride. Our collective grief over Orlando is new territory for some, but in the days ahead our solidarity and unity will continue to be needed by so many who have been affected.
To recap: on the morning of June 12th, 49 LGBTQ Latinx and allied lives were taken in a mass shooting at the Pulse Night Club while 53 others were seriously injured. The attack occurred during Pride, while celebrations in many cities were already underway. PFLAG National quickly issued an official statement from Executive Director Jody Huckaby, stating that Orlando "...tragically reminds us that our work is far from over. As ambassadors of love and hope, PFLAG members will continue to support our extended family of LGBTQ people, families, and allies through these dark, anxious moments and beyond." The rest of that statement can be found here.
The tragedy affected a large cross-section of marginalized communities. PFLAG National stood in solidarity, signing on to a Call for Unity along with other LGBTQ groups to affirm our position that PFLAG “stand[s] united as a diverse LGBTQ community of many faiths, races, ethnicities, nationalities and backgrounds.” PFLAG National also signed on to a collective Resolve to End Violence Against Marginalized Communities, which included this sentiment: "We are concerned that some will use this tragedy to prevent our movements from building bridges...our prospects for liberation are interlinked."
PFLAG National staff has been hard at work supporting Orlando and LGBTQ and Latinx communities at large, connecting with organizations on the ground and fighting for survivors and families. At the request of the Department of Justice Community Resource Services (DOJ CRS) for a Latinx LGBTQ partner to help with community building and reconciliation needs in Orlando, Director of Policy Diego Sanchez met with families in the Orlando area affected by the tragedy, as well as local law enforcement and LGBTQ and Latino/a/x organizations. Field Manager Jamie Curtis has been a fearless, tireless, and strong leader, supporting the many chapters and members local to the event. PFLAG chapters across the country have been holding vigils, fundraisers, and support meetings nationwide. Read more about those here and in the upcoming Fall edition of the PFLAGPole.
Orlando poses the question of solidarity for us all. In this fight, LGBTQ and allied voices are vital. It is our unity across diverse fronts which dismantles hate and prevents violence. Now, we learn our collective resilience. We honor the voices and lives of 49 beautiful and strong human beings and those who love them. We also reiterate to our members, our chapters, our friends, that we stand with you in this. Our resources are available when needed. Keep sharing your stories, and keep heart. And keep an eye out for the Fall issue of the PFLAGPole where we will share more reflections on Orlando.