Note from Equality Florida's Nadine Smith:
You weren't at Pulse. You live hundreds, even thousands of miles away. You donated to the victims fund and attended vigils. Your social media post uses the hashtag #HonorThemWithAction. You are sending thoughts and prayers and love to the families of those killed, to those wounded, and those who escaped whose injuries are not visible.
I just want to say you get to grieve for yourself too. For the sense of a sanctuary violated. For the reminder that progress has always meant dangerous backlash. For the terror you felt that it "could have been you." You get to grieve how helpless you felt all those miles away, for how inadequate every gesture felt from such a distance. You get to feel all that sadness. This was an act of terror specifically targeting the LGBT community in the midst of Pride Month in Latin Night. You were supposed to get that message. You get to respond to that personal threat with grief and anger for what was meant for you too. #HonorThemWithAction
Equality Florida Commemorates One Year Mark of Pulse Massacre And Continues to #HonorThemWithAction
ORLANDO, FL — On the one-year mark of the Pulse massacre, Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director, Hannah Willard, released the following statement.
“Yesterday it was our time to march - and now it's time to turn this March into a Movement. We must ensure the lasting memorial of the Pulse massacre is the real change of uprooting anti-LGBTQ hatred, discrimination, and violence in our culture.
As news broke of the Pulse massacre that claimed the lives of 49 people, mostly LGBTQ and Latinx young people, our shock and disbelief turned to grief and anger. In the hours, days, and weeks that followed people from around the world reached out to ask how they could help. Our answer was clear and has remained consistent: Honor Them With Action.
It’s not enough to mourn those taken from us. It’s not enough to celebrate our collective resilience. We cannot allow the Pulse massacre to be yet another national tragedy. This must be a national turning point that spurs us to new action.
At a moment when some sought to meet fear with fear and hate with hate, we saw a community come together, united in a commitment to challenge bigotry and hatred, not nourish it. A deep resilience emerged from survivors, victims’ loved ones, Orlando residents, elected leaders, LGBTQ people and our allies around the world. People held vigils and fundraisers to directly aid the families of those killed and the survivors and committed to combatting hatred of all kinds.
As we think about all the ways in which our world is different one year later, I challenge you to join me in uprooting and challenging hatred of all kinds, and to take action each and every day to make the world different, better, and safer for all of us. We need you to step up and speak out against all forms of violence, be they mass shootings, genocide abroad, everyday gun violence, vandalism at houses of worship, and yes, even hateful words spoken from a pulpit, a pew, or over the dinner table.
The love and support from around the world has buoyed the Orlando LGBTQ community over the last year. Thank you for standing with us to do the work of fully addressing and combating hatred wherever it exists.”
In May, Equality Florida launched the #HonorThemWithAction campaign, a nationwide commemoration of the Pulse massacre that calls on individuals and organizations to honor those killed by taking action to uproot the hatred that feeds anti-LGBTQ bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence. Equality Florida is joined by 170+ organizations who have pledged to host Pulse memorial events on Monday, June 12 in remembrance of the 49 lives taken, most of them LGBTQ and Latinx young people. The #HonorThemWithAction campaign will continue throughout Pride month through an ongoing partnership with the National Equality March for Unity and Pride in Washington, D.C and sister marches across the country.
Visit HonorThemWithAction.org for more information. Other resources include a Toolkit for media covering the Pulse massacre, along with best practices and language recommendations for press.