The mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando is a heartbreaking event. A man terrorized a place of joy and pride, and now 49 people are dead, more than 50 are wounded, and the shockwaves throughout the LGBT community can never be measured.
With this tragedy, we are once again reminded of the deadly consequences of hate. As we painfully learned not long ago at the Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina, until we as a nation do the hard work of enacting meaningful gun laws and the even harder work of openly and consistently addressing the far too common fear and hatred of our neighbors because of perceived differences, countless lives are in constant danger. Indeed, the most pressing task we face is to find a sense of unity across our differences.
Our country’s greatest asset is the diversity of its people. There will be some who will use this moment to demonize Muslims and stoke Islamophobia. This is not the answer and in fact stokes the flames of hate that are already consuming our nation. Instead, now is the time for all Americans of good conscience to recognize our shared humanity, and affirm that we are made strong by our diversity, and made strongest by our unity.
Our work to build deeper ties of human understanding and solidarity is just so urgent—our nation’s future depends on it.
And if you're in New York, join us as we stand in vigil at the Stonewall Inn tonight at 7 pm.