These are the words of Eddie Justice to his best friend Demetrice Naulings during the terror in Orlando. Now we are left with the grieving, the rage, the fear and–each other. It is a time to hold on to friends and loved ones. A time to remember those who lost their lives
Edward Sotomayor Jr. (34), Stanley Almodovar III (23), Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo (20), Juan Ramon Guerrero (22), Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera (36), Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz (22), Luis S. Vielma (22), Kimberly Morris (37), Eddie Jamoldroy Justice (30), Darryl Roman Burt II (29), Deonka Deidra Drayton (32), Alejandro Barrios Martinez (21), Anthony Luis Laureano Disla (25), Jean Carlos Mendez Perez (35), Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez (50), Amanda Alvear (25), Martin Benitez (33), Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon (37), Mercedes Marisol Flores (26), Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado (35), Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez (25), Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez (31), Oscar A. Aracena-Montero (26), Enrique L. Rios, Jr. (25), Miguel Angel Honorato (30), Javier Jorge-Reyes (40), Joel Rayon Paniagua (32), Jason Benjamin Josaphat (19), Cory James Connell (21), Juan P. Rivera Velazquez (37), Luis Daniel Conde (39), Shane Evan Tomlinson (33), Juan Chevez- Martinez (25), Jerald Arthur Wright (31), Leroy Valentin Fernandez (25), Tevin Eugene Crosby (25), Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega (24), Jean C. Nives Rodriguez (27), Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala (33), Brenda Lee Marquez McCool (49), Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan (24), Christopher Andrew Leinonen (32), Angel L. Candelaria-Padro (28), Frank Hernandez (27), Paul Terrell Henry (41), Antonio Davon Brown (29), Christopher Joseph Sanfelciz (24), Akira Monet Murray (18), Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez (25).
As I typed the names of the shooting victims, I tried to picture each one of them as a newborn welcomed into this world as they were given their meaningful names. I thought of each of them as children with life spread before them. Each and every one was someone’s son or daughter, lover, spouse, sister, brother, aunt, uncle or friend. I pray their lives gave them joy along with the inevitable trials. I pray that their souls find peace in the afterlife and that they are never forgotten.
A few of the survivors are still critical at this time, and I pray for their recovery and all those who were injured. Everyone involved–from those who almost went dancing that night, but decided for one reason or another to stay home to those who witnessed the shootings and those who were wounded and survived will carry the scars for life. We have all been touched by this tragedy.
Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
Scott Wilbanks, author of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster speaks much better than I can to hate and love, the Orlando Massacre and the LGBT community :