Today we reflect on the terrible massacre of our fellow Americans in Orlando; a day that marks the most deadly shooting in American history.
My heart breaks for the victims and my prayers are with the families and loved ones of everyone touched by this senseless tragedy and to all who will begin the difficult journey of recovering from unspoken wounds, both physical and emotional.
We still have a lot of questions that are unanswered but we know enough to say this was an act of terror and hate. In the coming days, we will learn the names and stories of these innocent victims — young men and women out for a fun night of dancing, singing and fellowship, unsafe even in a space they created for themselves.
I think of Mina Justice, a mother woken up in the middle of the night to the chilling last texts from her son inside Pulse nightclub, taking his last few breaths to tell her he loved her. This horrific act is a direct attack on the principles that make our country great — the promise of freedom, equality and inclusion.
It is a sobering reminder that regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, an attack on any group is an attack on us all…a direct assault on our civil liberties. But even in the face of such cruelty, we will stick to our values and beliefs. We will not give up our freedom, our humanity or our happiness.
While our hearts are broken, I have every confidence that the Orlando community will come together and heal. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community and all the people of Orlando.
These acts of hatred will never be understood but no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the fundamental values of equality and dignity that make us Americans. Today I have one simple ask — more love and less hate.
Peace and love,