HEAL­ING IN A YEAR

Mas­sacre at night­club Pulse spurs leg­is­la­tion

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY SARAH NEL­SON AND S.A. MILLER

On the one-year an­niver­sary of the most deadly mass shoot­ing in U.S. his­tory, the coun­try’s largest civil rights group called for unity and leg­is­la­tion that pro­tects the LGBT com­mu­nity.

“Af­ter the Pulse tragedy, Amer­i­cans from all walks of life came to­gether to make it clear that the LGBT com­mu­nity is im­por­tant,” said Sarah McBride, spokes­woman for the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign. “But even as progress has been made, there is still hate com­ing from the White House.”

Mem­bers of the civil rights group con­ducted a mo­ment of si­lence Mon­day for the 49 peo­ple who were killed in last year’s shoot­ing ram­page at the gay night­club Pulse in Or­lando, Florida. Fifty-three peo­ple were also wounded in the three-hour mas­sacre.

Pres­i­dent Trump rec­og­nized the first an­niver­sary of the ter­ror­ist at­tack on the night­club, pledg­ing Mon­day in a tweet that Amer­ica will “NEVER FOR­GET.”

“We will NEVER FOR­GET the vic­tims who lost their lives one year ago to­day in the hor­rific #PulseNightClub shoot­ing. #Or­lan­doUnit­edDay,” Mr. Trump said on Twit­ter.

Mr. Trump reached out to LGBT vot­ers af­ter the at­tack, mak­ing the case that he would bet­ter pro­tect them from rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ists who con­demn ho­mo­sex­u­als to death. But he never gar­nered sig­nif­i­cant sup­port, and LBGT lead­ers have op­posed his pres­i­dency.

His tweet about the Pulse an­niver­sary co­in­cided with crit­i­cism from the LGBT com­mu­nity that Mr. Trump has failed to of­fi­cially rec­og­nize June 2017 as Pride Month, de­spite cel­e­bra­tions this month in cities and states across the coun­try in sup­port of gay rights.

June has tra­di­tion­ally been des­ig­nated Pride Month to com­mem­o­rate the 1969 Stonewall ri­ots in New York that are con­sid­ered the birth of the mod­ern LGBT move­ment.

On Mon­day the Hu­man Rights Cam­paign’s Ms. McBride and co­worker Ash­ley Smith said leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect gays and les­bians must be en­acted at the lo­cal, state and na­tional lev­els. Mr. Smith also said that en­sur­ing that guns do not get into the hands of peo­ple who should not have them should be a top pri­or­ity.

Both he and Ms. McBride said har­mony within the LGBT com­mu­nity is cru­cial.

“We have to be more aware of unity and en­sure we are one body,” Mr. Smith said. “Unity al­lows great things; divi­sion does not.”

Ms. McBride noted that the Pulse at­tack oc­curred dur­ing the night­club’s “Latin Night” events.

“The fact it oc­curred on Latin night was no co­in­ci­dence. It un­der­scores how we are women, we are black, we are Mus­lim, we are im­mi­grants, and we are de­vel­op­men­tally dis­abled,” she said. “An at­tack on any of us is an at­tack on all of us.”

Mean­while, in Or­lando, hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered out­side Pulse to leave flow­ers, cards and draw­ings to com­mem­o­rate the vic­tims, The As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

The name of each vic­tim was read aloud start­ing at 2:02 a.m. Mon­day, the ex­act time Omar Ma­teen start­ing fir­ing shots in­side the night­club.

Church bells through­out the city rang 49 times at noon to honor those killed and wounded. Gov. Rick Scott or­dered all flags in Florida to be flown at half­staff on Mon­day.

SARAH NEL­SON/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

One year af­ter 49 were killed and 53 wounded in a shoot­ing at Pulse in Or­lando, Florida, some are push­ing anti-hate leg­is­la­tion. Pres­i­dent Trump tweeted his sup­port, but crit­ics say he hasn’t done enough for the gay com­mu­nity.

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