First and foremost, we are reeling in pain because of this hateful attack in Orlando. Despite recent advancements in LGBT rights, this shooting demonstrates just how much hatred and prejudice is still aimed toward our community. This tragedy also reflects the violence faced every day by LGBT individuals, especially by persons of color, even in spaces intended to reaffirm their expression. There is still much work to be done in furthering acceptance of LGBT identities.
There will be a New Orleans Memorial Vigil this evening at St. Anna’s Episcopal Church (1313 Esplanade Avenue) starting at 6:30 PM tonight. In Baton Rouge, there will be a Candlelight Vigil at the Mississippi River Levee at 6:00 PM near the intersection of River Road and Florida. In Alexandria, there will be a Unity, Solidarity and Remembrance Gathering at 7:00 PM at the Holocaust Memorial Statue. Tomorrow evening, a Candlelight Vigil will be held in Lafayette at 7:30 PM at the Parc Sans Souci.
Forum for Equality extends its sympathy to the families and friends of the 50 dead, 53 injured, and the nearly 200 more who lived through this horror at the Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida. Further, the Forum for Equality calls on anti-LGBT religious and political leaders to recognize that whenever they demonize or attempt to marginalize the LGBT community, they provide extremists with a green light to violence.
For decades, LGBT nightclubs and bars have been safe refuges for our community, which makes the Orlando shooting even more frightening for the LGBT community here in Louisiana, the U.S., and across the world.
We will continue to work toward inclusive policies that protect and embrace LGBT people, and we will strive to keep the focus of the ensuing dialogue surrounding the attack on amplifying our voices through political action.
Forum for Equality urges members of the LGBT community who are affected by this tragedy – both directly and indirectly – to speak to friends and loved ones and to seek help if needed:
Crisis Intervention Center help line (for Louisiana residents): 225-924-3900
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
Equality Florida’s Donation Page to Support Victims and Recovery Efforts
Forum For Equality
4035 Washington Ave
New Orleans, Louisiana 70125