HEALING IN A YEAR
Massacre at nightclub Pulse spurs legislation
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.
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.