In the News

ONE YEAR AFTER THE PULSE MASSACRE, LATINO LEADERS PLEDGE TO REMEMBER LIVES LOST

Monday, June 12, 2017
Press Release
Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One year ago today, 49 innocent lives were taken by a gunman at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. NHLA stands in solidarity with our LGBTQ and Latino/x communities to mourn, honor, and remember those lost, injured, and traumatized in the only mass murder of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in this country.

Sadly, the majority of the over 100 people killed or injured, were also Latino/x. Today, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a coalition of 45 of the nation’s preeminent Latino advocacy organizations, remembers those who perished and pledges to honor their lives through our work.

Nearly half of the victims were Puerto Rican. Others were Cuban-American, Dominican-American, Mexican-American, Salvadoran, Ecuadoran, Venezuelan, Afro-Latino, and from other Latino/x communities, and almost all were lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). Over half were under 30, with the youngest being just 18 years old. Some were undocumented.

Today NHLA remembers each of those lives lost to hate:

Stanley Almodovar III - Amanda L. Alvear - Oscar A. Aracena Montero, - Rodolfo Ayala Ayala - Antonio Davon Brown - Darryl Roman Burt II - Angel Candelario-Padro - Juan Chavez Martinez - Luis Daniel Conde - Cory James Connell - Tevin Eugene Crosby - Deonka Deidra Drayton - Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández - Leroy Valentin Fernandez - Mercedez Marisol Flores - Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz - Juan Ramon Guerrero - Paul Terrell Henry - Frank Hernandez - Miguel Angel Honorato - Javier Jorge Reyes - Jason Benjamin Josaphat - Eddie Jamoldroy Justice - Anthony Luis Laureano Disla - Christopher Andrew Leinonen - Alejandro Barrios Martinez - Brenda Marquez McCool - Gilberto R. Silva Menendez - Kimberly Jean Morris - Akyra Monet Murray - Luis Omar Ocasio Capo - Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez - Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera - Joel Rayon Paniagua - Jean Carlos Mendez Perez - Enrique L. Rios, Jr. - Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez - Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado - Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz - Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan - Edward Sotomayor Jr. - Shane Evan Tomlinson - Martin Benitez Torres - Jonathan A. Camuy Vega - Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez - Luis Sergio Vielma - Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez - Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon - and Jerald Arthur Wright.

NHLA understands this trauma has made a deep and lasting impact in LGBTQ and Latino/x communities, and that it will take much time to mourn and heal, and that to do so, we must invest in those most directly affected by this tragedy. Latino-led, culturally competent efforts, based in Orlando, such as QLatinx, Somos Orlando, and the Contigo Fund are critical initiatives dedicated to the well-being and healing of survivors of the Pulse massacre, to honoring the many LGBTQ Latino lives taken last year, and to supporting a healing process. NHLA will continue to lift up such initiatives and work with those who strive for equality for the LGBTQ and Latino/x communities.

“Last year’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was an attack on the Latino LGBTQ community. One year on, we reaffirm our condemnation of violence against our LGBTQ familia, we continue to remember those lost and share our deepest sympathies with their families, and we proudly stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ familia in the work we do every day. Moving forward, we will keep fighting for the advancement of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters and policies that reflect the diversity of our nation,” said Hector Sanchez Barba, NHLA Chair and Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

"One year ago in Orlando, Florida the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community was the target of a cowardly, hateful act of violence that resulted in the massacre of 49 innocent lives at the Pulse nightclub. In the aftermath of this horrific crime, family and friends were left with overwhelming grief and questions that will never be answered. The LGBTQ community is loving, and inclusive. By working to educate, and bring awareness to this community we honor the memory of the lives lost and help shatter the fear that motivates such violence, " said David M. Pérez, Co-Chair of NHLA’s LGBTQ Task Force and Director of Development at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

"The first year anniversary of the Pulse massacre reminds us that no one is immune to acts of hate and violence, and in fact LGBTQ and Latino communities are more frequent targets of such terror in this country. We at NHLA stand together in support of our community in Orlando and across the country, and unite with all others who choose to work with us to advance social justice, equality and peace," said Arturo Vargas, Co-Chair of NHLA’s LGBTQ Task Force and Executive Director of the NALEO Educational Fund.

“Today we remember the Pulse tragedy and honor the 49 beautiful souls that lost their lives due to the racism, homophobia and xenophobia that plague this nation. At a time when the administration has chosen to demonize, persecute and attack our communities, it is more important than ever that we are united in our goals to protect and fight for each other. Pulse is a reminder that justice will not be possible until LGBTQ, Latinx and Muslim folx can live free of persecution and hate,” said Jessica González-Rojas, Co-Chair of NHLA’s Latina Task Force and Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “As we stand in solidarity with the victims, their friends and their families, we recommit to never ease up on the battle against systematic violence and oppression. We will continue to build bridges across communities to advance LGBTQ and Latinx liberation and equality. Our communities are powerful and resilient, and together we will overcome.”

“We must always remember the hateful attack one year ago that left the families of 49 people in shock, grief, and mourning, and that left our nation forever denied the contributions that each of these individuals would have continued to make to our growth and success ,” said Thomas A. Saenz, NHLA Vice Chair and MALDEF President and General Counsel. “Our remembrance impels us to renew our commitment to rooting out bias against LGBTQ, Latino, and other communities in all of our laws and social practices. We must also commit to electing leaders who understand and embrace the ongoing obligation to foster civil rights and full inclusion in our national family.”

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
| Michael Torra | mtorra@rabengroup.com | (202) 425-0582 |
| Brenda Arredondo | barredondo@rabengroup.com | (915) 373-1483 |

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HISPANIC LEADERSHIP AGENDA

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda is composed of 45 of the leading national and regional Latino civil rights and public policy organizations and other elected officials, and prominent Latinos Americans. NHLA coalition members represent the diversity of the Latino community – Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latino Americans. NHLA’s mission calls for unity among Latinos around the country to provide the Latino community with greater visibility and a clearer, stronger influence in our country’s affairs. NHLA brings together Latino leaders to establish policy priorities that address, and raise public awareness of, the major issues affecting the Latino community and the nation as a whole. For more information, please visit: www.nationalhispanicleadership.org.

NHLA MEMBER ORGANIZATIONS

Alianza Americas | American G.I. Forum | ASPIRA Association | Avance Inc. | Casa de Esperanza: National Latin@ Network | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Farmworker Justice | Green Latinos | Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities | Hispanic Federation | Hispanic National Bar Association | Inter-University Program for Latino Research | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | Latino Justice PRLDEF | League of United Latin American Citizens | MANA, A National Latina Organization | Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund | Mi Familia Vota | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures | National Association of Hispanic Federal Executives | National Association of Hispanic Publications | National Day Laborer Organizing Network | NALEO Educational Fund | National Association of Latino Independent Producers | National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc. | National Council of La Raza | National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators | National Hispanic Council on Aging | National Hispanic Environmental Council | National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National Hispanic Medical Association | National Institute for Latino Policy | National Latina/o Psychological Association | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health | Presente.org | SER Jobs for Progress National | Southwest Voter Registration Education Project | United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce | United States Hispanic Leadership Institute | United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce | U.S.- Mexico Foundation | Voto Latino