Saturday, June 11, 2016
I have a faint memory of this day.
I remember being with one of my girls.
We wanted to have a good night out.
So we went to this little hookah spot she knew.
I didn’t like the atmosphere, but I liked being with her.
I always did. I always do.
The night ended early for us.
We went back to the hotel to chill.
We were in Charlotte, North Carolina.
I had no clue that my world back home was being attacked.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
The morning after… that feeling was one I will never forget.
I remember turning on the news and seeing my city –
Orlando had a shooting. Orlando had a shooting at a gay club.
Orlando had a shooting at the club my girl was going to be at.
I checked my phone.
I had missed calls + missed texts from my family & friends.
None of that mattered.
I was only concerned with whether or not my girl was OK.
Finding out that she was OK was the biggest relief.
That’s really all I remember.
The First Months That Followed
It was hard.
It wasn’t hard because I lost a friend.
It wasn’t hard because I lost a brother or a sister.
It wasn’t hard because I lost a child.
It wasn’t hard because I lost a significant other.
It was hard because someone –
Someone attacked my community.
If you can think back, last year was a rough time.
There was a hashtag every week of a black life lost.
That was hard to see but it was easier to stomach.
Those shootings were happening outside of my backyard.
But this –
This was in my backyard.
This was in my safe place.
I thought Orlando was safe.
I was sad.
I was mad.
I was hurt.
I was angry.
I was scared.
I questioned everything.
Was I safe in my skin?
Was I safe in my sexuality?
What else was going to be taken from me?
I was shook.
I was shocked.
And I wasn’t in the club.
I wasn’t even in Orlando that night.
Despite everything, I was surprised at the amount of support.
We were supported from the outside –
Foreign nations + our own country.
The best part about it all –
Orlando united together.
We were strong.
We were one.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Here we are… one year later.
Heaven gained 49 angels one year ago.
It is hard to believe that this is reality.
It’s hard turning on the news –
Seeing what devastated a city, a community, a nation.
Today, we are still healing.
Today, we are still remembering –
Remembering the lives lost but the impact and memories left.
Today, we are thankful for the survivors.
Today, we are thankful for the progress.
Today, we spread peace.
Today, we spread love.
Today – and tomorrow –
We are #OrlandoUnited.
In loving memory of
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda L. Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A. Aracena Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chavez Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Jean Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez, 37 years old
Luis Sergio Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
You can read more about how the Pulse victims are remembered here. ❤
If you or anyone you know has been impacted by this or is still dealing with this tragedy, reach out and get help. You are not alone! There is help for you.