cville pride vigil for Orlando shooting

For Release: Cville Pride Responds to the Orlando Shooting Tragedy

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Charlottesville, VA – June 12, 2016

In response to the tragedy of the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, we offer our heartfelt compassion, sympathy for the sorrows of those injured and slain.

This was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. It is not the first one against the LGBTQ community, however. In fact, LGBTQ people face the threat as well as the expression of violence of varying levels on a daily basis. This is particularly true of transgender people and LGBTQ people of color here in the U.S., as well as those of us living in especially hostile regions and countries. No strangers to fears of physical harm and social exclusion, we are used to supporting each other, and in this aftermath, too, we will gather together as a community.

But this is also not the first expression of gun violence against a historically marginalized minority group. This act represencville pride vigil for Orlando shooting ts yet another act of terror and hate that has afflicted our community, our country, and our world again and again.

We all share in this tragedy, and we hope that we can all share in the hope and actions it will take to help us heal as a society and to work to prevent more of the same.

Hatred in any form and against any group cannot be tolerated in a civil society. We can disagree, differ, argue, debate — issues and ideologies — but whatever our differences, we cannot allow our positions and beliefs to translate into the type of emotional hate of fellow Americans (or humans) that justifies unethical, unequal, and violent treatment of other human beings. We must work to understand that small acts and words that encourage the defamation, shaming, maligning, damning of others, however small or seemingly innocuous – that ignorance and discrimination – have longterm effects.

Let all of us learn to speak of and treat each other with respect and kindness characteristic of our best selves. Let us decide that the only thing we cannot tolerate is the intolerance that creates the kind of environment that sanctions this kind of violence.

Do your part to speak truth to ignorance and peace to violence. Speak up against hate and intolerance. Be an ally – not just to LGBTQ people, but to any who are deemed unworthy or Other – including people of Islamic faith. Be an advocate for civility. We must each practice nonviolence if we want to see it flourish.

Join us Monday evening, June 13th, at 7:30 p.m. at the Free Speech Wall in Charlottesville, VA.

2 Comments Posted

  1. Dear People:
    We often ask after such events in the midst of their resonances that last for days, weeks, months, and years ‘What Can We Do?” or ‘What Can I Do?”
    Pride’s published statement gives some direction: “Do your part to speak truth to ignorance and peace to violence. … Be an advocate for civility.” Well said.
    But how can you/we/I do that?
    ‘Truth’ is contended: does ‘the Donald’ have the truth? does ‘the Bernie’? does the Bible, the Koran, the Heart Sutra, etc? So, how can we learn and continue to learn about each other’s beliefs about the truth. Some members of the local Muslim community have invited broader community members to join then for evening meal through the current season of Ramadan. That’s one great example! What more can we do?
    We might think that ‘violence’ is obvious to everyone but it is not.
    We’ve heard local groups chanting – ‘hate speech is violence’ and ‘hate speech is not free speech’. Actually, the First Amendment protects a right to have hate-ful beliefs and to speak hate-fully (up to the Constitutional limits). And the Second Amendment protects individual’s right to own and carry weapons – that are often used in violence – for her/his/their protection and protection of their household (up to the Constitutional limits). Aren’t abortions violent acts but are protected by law (up to the Constitutional limits). Is living in a gated community with guards to keep others out ‘violent’? What about a community that allows some members of the community to be homeless?
    Perhaps ‘Peace’ is less contended? Not really: how often do we hear ‘no justice, no peace!’. But one group chanting may have very different notions of justice, and peace, from the other group chanting. Art, literature, song, and other expressions of human cultures, today and in distant times, have displayed images of peace that are not merely conditions in which an elite erects peace for itself upon the deprivation or oppression of others. In some faith traditions such a transcendent peace is called ‘the peace that surpasses understanding’.
    How can I/you/we discover our different paths to that peace, share what we’ve learned with one another, continue on our paths – together, strengthen others – together, and not leave anyone out?
    At the vigil perhaps these are the conversations – informal with those you know at the vigil, AND with strangers beside you, within your family and among friends – that you might have.
    Are there ways to make these conversations ongoing? … e.g. hosted by Pride, the Charlottesville Peace and Justice Community – see note below*, City and County Government, etc?, various faith groups coming together, different neighborhood associations meeting together? etc. Think about it and see what you can do! That would be great!
    * Note:
    Charlottesville Peace and Justice Center hosts TUESDAY June 14th: The annual Charlottesville Community gathering at Westminster Presbyterian Church social hall! Come for networking (5:30pm) potluck supper — bring a dish! — (6pm) and to hear and share about what local nonprofit and activist groups are doing in the area! –

    • Thank you for your input and comments! We did indeed attend the networking event you mentioned, and we are doing what we can with our limited resources. Thanks!

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