June 12, 2024 Blog · C3

Honoring Pulse Nightclub Victims | A Commitment to Gun Violence Prevention

As we celebrate Pride this year, we’re also calling on everyone to remember the horrific impact gun violence has had on the community. We’re using today as a reminder to connect deeply and intentionally with the communities most heavily affected year-round, not just on a specific month. It goes without saying that gun violence is a terrible, horrific epidemic in our country. The stop gap and perceived controversy seems to always be about the solution. Today we aren’t calling on the solution. Instead, we’re asking that you take some time to reflect on the catastrophic consequences irresponsible gun usage has on innocent lives.

On June 12, 2016, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando became the site of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. At around 2 a.m., a gunman entered the gay nightclub, armed with an assault rifle and a handgun, opened fire – consequently killing 49 and leaving 53 wounded.

The Pulse mass shooting was not just an act of terror, but a hate and bias-motivated crime targeting the gender and sexual minority community. The aftermath of the attack left a lot of us in a state of mourning and understandably sparked a renewed call for gun violence prevention as well as stronger protections for marginalized communities. The fact is, the impact of this violence extends far beyond the immediate victims, instilling fear and anxiety within the broader community.

It’s well documented that deep-seated prejudice and hate crimes are alarmingly common. According to data from the FBI, hate crimes based on sexual orientation consistently rank among the most frequently reported bias-motivated offenses. In 2022, hate based crimes accounted for 16.77% of all reported hate crimes. Additionally, crimes based on gender identity comprised 4.04% of reported incidents. That translates to sexual/gender minority groups being 2.7 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime compared to those who aren’t in those communities.

Hate and bias has no place in our culture. When we add a gun to the mix, it gives terrible people unfettered access to quickly steal and ruin lives.

For Pride we’re asking you to remember the names of the people we’ve lost to hate based violence. A moment of silence and contemplation to the individuals who were bravely being themselves only to be stolen from the the world because of that single fact.

We Remember the Pulse Nightclub Victims

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda L. Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A. Aracena Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Jean Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez, 37 years old

Luis Sergio Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old