we are pulse…remembering and recommitting ourselves to ending the violence

June 12, 2016 is a day that will forever live in our hearts, memories, tears, and struggle. It is hard to believe that 5 years have passed since the shooting that took the lives of 49 people and self-inflicted shot by the shooter that took his life. It was and continues to be a day of mourning, a day of rage, a day of confusion, and day to recommit ourselves to ending the violence and all that systems that shatter people’s lives. We must mourn our dead and commit, recommit, and re-recommit to honoring the lives of queer people of color and other minoritized groups not only when their lives are silenced but while they are living, while we are here. After news of the shooting reached Athens, OH, I helped organize a vigil in solidarity with those killed and all those impacted by the shooting. Below is my original reflection shared at that vigil.

We say their names…

Stanley Almodovar III, 23
Amanda Alvear, 25
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Antonio D. Brown, 30
Darryl R. Burt II, 29
Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Luis D. Conde, 39

Cory J. Connell, 21
Tevin E. Crosby, 25
Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Deonka D. Drayton, 32
Mercedez M. Flores, 26
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Juan R. Guerrero, 22
Paul T. Henry, 41
Frank Hernandez, 27
Miguel A. Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Jason B. Josaphat, 19
Eddie J. Justice, 30
Anthony L. Laureano Disla, 25
Christopher A. Leinonen, 32
Brenda L. Marquez McCool, 49
Jean C. Mendez Perez, 35
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Kimberly Morris, 37

Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27
Luis O. Ocasio-Capo, 20
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Enrique L. Rios Jr., 25
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
Christopher J. Sanfeliz, 24
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Shane E. Tomlinson, 33
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
Jerald A. Wright, 31

Presente hoy y siempre

How do we combat tragedy and violence and hate?

49 people killed, many injured, and thousands around the world impacted by a single act.

A person reached out to me yesterday sharing that they didn’t feel safe and they wanted a place to be. If we are not safe in our own spaces, where are we safe? How can I ensure safety?

Now is not a time of hate or blaming or ridiculing or condemning, it is a time of solidarity not only with Orlando, my home state of Florida, and LGBTQ people….it is a time of solidarity with all impacted by violence in its many forms.

Now is a time of solidarity with queer folk, latinx communities, immigrant communities, Muslims…

Now is not the time for competing in the oppression olympics of who is more marginalized…it is a time to come together and to recognize our common pulse.

It is a tragic irony that the club assaulted and dehumanized was called Pulse. If we feel our wrists, our necks, and other parts of the body, we will all feel pulse…it is what unites us; however because of the biases we all have, all of us, we begin to believe that some pulses are better than others and those that don’t pulse like me need to be stopped, literally and figuratively.

Am I angry…no, I am a fucking ball of revolutionary outrage! I will rant … I will rave … I will ramble … I will rage … I will revolutionize!

When will the violence end…when will the micro aggressions end…when will all the bullshit end?

Many have heard me share that within many Latinx communities, we honor those who have died with the word … Presente … Present. The 49 who were massacred are presente now, silent witnesses and reminders of the need to embody the accomplicehood of solidarity now and solidarity always. Their dancing will continue in us and through us.

Our solidarity is more than a hashtag.

Solidarity is not only about retweeting cute pictures of your friends gay wedding or using the angry emoji at bathroom discrimination … I wholeheartedly appreciate those sparks of solidarity however we need more and we need more from all of us. Solidarity means working everyday, 24/7, 365 and quarter days, always so that the person who reached out to us on Sunday doesn’t have to worry about harassment of any type and is just able to be, and be in their totality.

All the feels are pulsing through many of us.

Please join me in a Collective scream 

We most remember and mourn the dead, we must recommit ourselves to fighting like hell for the living, now and always.

We matter, however you understand and embody we, we matter.

The lives lost mattered while they lived and danced that night, matter now as we remember and honor them.

You, me, us, we matter, not only in these moments of hardships but everyday

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