We at SEIU-USWW extend our deepest condolences to our LGTBQI family and all people, against the senseless violence and hate that occurred at Pulse nightclub, in Orlando, on Saturday night. The LQTBQI community is too often the target of hatred and violence, even as they stand up for their right to love who they choose. Today, we are reminded of the words of Bayard Rustin, the great civil rights organizer and champion of gay rights, who knew that the best way to effect change is through hard work and vigilance: “If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end.” We need to remember these words as we decide how to move forward and how we are going to react to this horrible tragedy.
It’s time to finally move forward with sensible gun control. There is no reason for anyone to have access to weapons like the kind used in Orlando. It is also time for us to embrace an agenda of understanding and inclusion, rather than hatred and division. The strength of our country has always been our diversity. Despite the call by some for segregation and limiting constitutional rights, it is time to embrace our differences and use that strength to move forward.
Our hearts go out to all of the victims, and their mothers, fathers, loved ones, friends and family. If we respond to this with more hatred, then the perpetrator of this horrible act will have achieved his goal. Let’s not respond with hatred that will weaken us, instead let’s join together in unity and love that will strengthen us and embrace change that will put an end to hatred and an end to mass shootings in America.