This time last year, my friend and I were preparing for the Pride Parade in New York City. Only a few days ago did the Supreme Court rule that gay marriage was legal nationwide. I remember being so happy driving in town and seeing two elderly women holding hands.
We were asked to walk in the parade when someone viewed my friend's poster. The poster reading; "All for Love and Love for All." She asked us if we were interested in walking with her organization, Love Yourself. We agreed and walked from the Empire State Building all the way to Greenwich Village. It was an amazing experience. People were exhilarated from the good news and filled with emotion. It seemed as if the LGBT community were finally being recognized and accepted.
A year later, and the Pride Parade is just around the corner. Except, this time, there is no cause for celebration. After the news of the Orlando attacks, members of the LGBT and the Latino community are grieving over the loss of loved ones and trying to grasp the events of what happened. With 49 victims dead, and 53 wounded, it has become one of the deadliest mass shootings to happen in US history.
But instead of crumbling down and losing hope, the community stands stronger than ever. Of course, it is hard to comprehend that there are people out there that will kill others for being themselves, but one thing that those people cannot take away is their pride. It has also brought the people of Orlando together. Whether it's in the form of blood donations or paying respect to those lives lost, everyone is doing something to help out. One form of this solidarity was apparent when Westboro Baptist Church tried to disrupt the funerals of one of the victims, but counter-protestors from a theater group wore angel wings made of fabric to block the Church from view.
The bottom line from this devastating tragedy has been how the strength and love from the LGBT and Latino community overpower the hatred from this attack. With this month being pride month, it is more important than ever to honor the victims and stand together to overcome bigotry and hate.