This year, Plainfield will be observing LGBTQ Pride Month with a flag raising ceremony at 7:00 pm tomorrow--Thursday, June 15 at City Hall Plaza. It is fitting that we do so, as we also observe and reflect on the one year anniversary of the horrific act of homophobic violence that resulted in the deaths of 49 LGBTQ folks at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. I posted about this last year, but feel the need to revisit it. As I also noted last year, I was especially struck by the faces of Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22, originally from New Jersey, and of 18 year-old Akyra Murray, a young black lesbian, who were among the youngest of the victims. I cannot right now articulate why they stand out so clearly for me...perhaps because they remind me of my students...may they rest...but still haunt our collective conscience as we fight to end gun violence. The words of the late Marlon Riggs resonate even today:
"It is necessary to constantly remind ourselves that we are not an abomination." --Marlon Riggs
At right are the images of the 49 mostly Latinx and black victims. For those of you who snicker, call names, make homophobic comments (and/or stand by while others make them), who minimize the nature of this specific attack on our LGBTQ sisters and brothers of color with attempts to deflect or deny that this was a hate crime, who don't believe that people like me (black, gay, out, proud) deserve the same rights as you, who misuse religion to spread hatred while saying that you are a Christian...for those of you who deny the children, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandparents, friends, mothers, fathers, and church friends in your own lives whom you KNOW are LGBTQ family...think about the seeds of destruction that you have sown through your own acts and thoughts, and how that contributes to horrific acts of violence.