Cornell Mourns For PULSE Victims
Politics and Activism

Cornell Mourns For PULSE Victims

Tears streaked many cheeks in a candlelit circle on Ho Plaza.

Kelly Crandall

A circle of people gathered on Ho Plaza before sunset, surrounding 49 squares of paper with a single name on each one, and a candle resting on top. Soft music singing gentle melodies of love and mourning played in the background as we all sat down on the still-warm cement. People of all ages, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and genders were present to mourn the victims of the PULSE nightclub massacre. This was a circle of love, grief, and confusion, but no hate was present. The vigil was organized to mourn the victims in Orlando, and not to put more hate into a world with too much already.

Before we lit the candles in remembrance of the victims, members of the circle were encouraged to speak. One student spoke about the privileges that being at Cornell provides the LGBTQIA+ community. She said that here she is able to be herself, and not worry about what might happen if she holds her girlfriend’s hand or kisses her in public while being on campus. We spoke about how PULSE was also supposed to be a safe space for queer people; a place for people to be themselves, but that was shattered when Omar Mateen opened fire. Some expressed that this shooting is detrimental to LGBTQIA+ youth, who might have been thinking of coming out, but now may be too scared.

One student talked about how he has never been to Florida and doesn’t know a single person in Orlando, but he cried until he fell asleep after hearing about the shooting. It took him a long time to realize why he was so upset. He realized that this explosion of violence was directed at such a central part of his identity. Not a year after gay marriage was legalized and during the month of Pride, the LGBTQIA+ community has been torn apart by an assault rifle shooting 13.3 bullets per second.

As a white, cis-gendered, straight woman I’ll never be able to fully understand what my queer friends are experiencing at this moment of time. However, one student was able to help me. She explained that she made a list of every queer person she knew, and the list was a little over 100. She imagined if 49 of those people were dead, and the rest critically injured. Her life would be irreparably changed. I also thought about 49 people I couldn't live without in my life. I thought about if I had been shot, how many people would be affected, and I thought about the families of the PULSE victims.

Another straight student spoke about what being a straight ally means to her now in the wake of the shooting. She realized that she needs to take a stand against hateful behavior towards her LGBTQIA+ friends by discrediting false prejudices and standing up to hateful language used by her friends and family. Straight allies need to use their privilege to stand up for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Though the United States has made decent progress in achieving equal rights for any and all peoples, the fight is far from over. Until people can go to nightclubs to dance, kiss in public, practice their faith, and be wholly and truly themselves, the fight is not over. As one student said at the vigil, if we are not actively fighting for what is right, we are merely being complacent in the oppression of others.

As we lit 49 candles and read 49 names, I hope that I never gather on Ho Plaza to mourn the senseless slaughter of innocent people again. I hope that the violence and hate will stop. In the wake of Orlando, I hope that the LGBTQIA+ community will be proud of who they are and hold their heads high.

As the vigil ended, the most brilliant sunset of the Ithaca summer so far shone over the slope and I remembered one very important thing. Life is gift that should be treasured above all else.

Peace and love.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less

13 Reasons We're Using Quarantine As The Ultimate Excuse For Online Shopping This Month

The one thing we haven't distanced from is our bank account.

Throughout quarantine, I've been FaceTiming most of my friends in a full turtleneck or the go-to cozy sweater I keep wrapped around the chair in my room. Either way, I always have tea in my hands to keep myself warm — till this past week.

For most of the country who hasn't had the luck of quarantining in 90-degree weather on their family's lake house or with a backyard pool, things began to change this month. Our favorite shows came out with summer seasons, the sun came out, and we started spending more time outside.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Morgan Wooten To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

Morgan Wooten

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less

If you are a normal person who spends most of their time streaming TV shows, you'll know that "Friends" was taken off Netflix early in 2020. Given that a global pandemic followed shortly after, many diehard fans of the show stuck in quarantine have been experiencing significant Central Perk withdrawal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

How To Interview A Class Of 2020 Graduate

What they've been through is truly unprecedented.


No matter how you want to spin it, the Class of 2020 will be the first class graduating amidst a global pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less

By now, it is safe to declare "Outer Banks" on Netflix as THE TV Show of quarantine.

"Tiger King" got out to an early lead, but since, the Pogues and the Kooks have owned pop culture conversations while everyone has been couped up this spring amidst a global pandemic. And if you are one of the very few people out there in the world that has not heard about "Outer Banks" and or haven't binged it yet, well...

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Spoke To A California ER Doctor About COVID-19, And Y'all, Our Healthcare Workers Know What's Up

In light of what's going on in the world, it's time to get some front-line perspective.

It seems like the only thing I do these days is scroll through social media in a desperate attempt to gain information. My phone has called me out on my screen time more than once, and I just continue to ignore it. You're probably in the same boat — stuck at home, scrolling deeper and deeper into a hole of conspiracy theories and possible "back to normalcy" dates, hungry for information.

While we know that the news is not our mental health's friend these days, getting reliable information is helpful and necessary.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments