Condolences & Healing:
All of us at the African Human Rights Coalition extend our deepest condolences to the heartbroken family, friends and community of the people taken so tragically at Pulse, Orlando, a week ago. We also send our hopes for healing to all those injured and those forced to witness the horrific slaughter of spouses, partners, friends and community.
Anger: We are angry that senseless violence continues to target our LGBTQI communities. We are angry that assault weapons are so easily attainable to terrorists and homophobes. We must not forget that while we advocate against LGBTQI persecution and violence at the hands of radical religious extremists, from whatever religion, we will not allow this tragedy to be one that serves to scapegoat an entire religious community or any minority.
People around the world are shocked and reeling in the face of this horrific and cruel tragedy. To many of the African LGBTI community, LGBT refugees and asylum seekers, who live through persecution and violence just for being LGBTI, the United States represents the ultimate safe haven. Now, by invading PULSE in Orlando, considered a safe pace to celebrate and be open for LGBT people, that sense of hope for security has been shattered. In fact recently several LGBTI refugees who we have worked with have been resettled in Florida and new refugees will arrive later this month. To those resettling in Florida, please note that unlike your recent encounters with police corruption and brutality, in countries where being LGBT is against the law, the police in Florida actually risked their lives to save LGBT people during the massacre.
All who were there will never be victims, instead they will forever be our heroes. Love, pride and compassion is what motivates us. June is Pride month and we come together in community, still seeking our full equality and standing up to anti-LGBTI sentiment and violence. This Pride month and probably forever more, we stand in solidarity and keep all 49 beautiful souls, the injured, the families, friends and community, in our thoughts, hearts and prayers.
This tragedy has altered us all forever and so we unite in love – not in terror.
Melanie Nathan Executive Director, African Human Rights Coalition
Police participating today in Pride Parade of the small Florida town, Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride 2016. Photo Courtesy: Aldrin Naranja Divinagracia-Lake