For 6 years of my life I lived in Orlando. I met beautiful people who welcomed me into their lives and made me feel at home in a place that always felt so foreign to me. Orlando was a cocoon where I was able to grow into my adult self. I fell in love in Orlando deeper than I have ever been in life. It was a nectar sweet deep south homegrown type of love that snatched me by my insides and suckled every part of me. It was real good love that sadly washed away with the tide. On another occasion, I was engaged in Orlando, given the ring of my dreams by a woman who made me feel like a queen. Orlando saw my first stage play, the publishing of my first book. The many smiles I met in Orlando coupled with growing pains made it both a place I loved and disliked. My ex fiancé is an officer that frequently worked off duty assignments at Pulse nightclub. I instantly thought of her and my first love when I heard the news. I prayed that neither of them were involved in the tragedy unfolding. The last few days I’ve cried and prayed for the 49 people who lost their lives and the 53 that were injured. The sickness of Omar Mateen is frightening because somewhere right now, there are at least a hundred more just like him.
I am both angered and saddened by the hateful comments that many have issued about the victims. The notion that their deaths should be rejoiced or that in some way they deserved their fate because of their lifestyle. The response of some Christian leaders has been anything but Christian like. I have no comment for their ignorance.
I pray for the family and friends of all involved with this tragedy. May each find peace and comfort in the days to come.
Say Their Names!
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old Amanda 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 L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old Juan Chevez-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 Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old Peter O. 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 Laureanodisla, 25 years old Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old Kimberly 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 C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old