We Prayed For Orlando. Now, Let’s Not Forget Orlando.
“Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old.”
It was one year ago when I first heard that name. My sister and I stood outside of New York City’s Stonewall Inn, as the names of the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting were read aloud—one by one.
I didn’t know Akyra. All I knew was her name. And that she was my “little” sister’s age.
I squeezed my sister’s hand so tightly, wishing with every fiber in my being that my grip could be enough to protect her from something so heinous. As the names continued to be announced, I felt weak and light headed—the victims could have been my sister and me.
The horrific massacre began to sink in and it hit devastatingly close to home.
Like myself, the 49 victims were mostly Latinx men in their twenties. Like myself, the 49 victims were mostly gay men who sometimes enjoyed dancing the night away at a gay nightclub with friends. Like myself, my 49 LGBTQ brothers and sisters probably shared the view that gay nightclubs like Pulse represented a safe space where people like us could be ourselves authentically. And like myself, they never imagined something like this could happen to them.
But it did happen. And it happened in the form of the deadliest hate crime in our nation’s history. For those of us at the intersection of these communities—if you were queer and/or a person of color—it was a sobering wake-up call. In spite of reaching many milestones in our struggle to create a more just, more inclusive, and more equal nation, for many of us, our lives never felt more threatened simply for being ourselves.
We shared in this plight. Together, we overcame this difficult time with support from our allies because we understood that our oppression was intersectional. We understood that we […]