Rainbow Democrats President Brandon Nelson issued the following statement regarding the Pulse tragedy:

Four years ago today changed The City Beautiful forever. Orlando, the State of Florida, the nation, and the world woke up to the news that there had been a shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. It would become the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in US history at that time when the death toll climbed to 49, only to be surpassed by another mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada the next year. The attack was not only an attack on Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community, but also on Orlando’s Latinx community, as it was Latin night at the club the night of the attack. Much like with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001, everyone will remember where they were when they heard the news of the Pulse massacre.

The tragedy of the Pulse Nightclub attack brought the Orlando community closer than ever before. Our community came together to support the LGBTQ+ community when it mattered most. Many people, left wondering “what could I do to help?” began to donate blood or even donate money to the victims and survivors families. Orlando resident Ben Johansen, “The ribbon maker,” decided to make what is now known internationally as the Pulse ribbon, a rainbow ribbon with a black strip across it to memorialize the fallen 49 angels.

Four years later, time has not healed the wounds of the loss to our community. Our hearts still ache as we continue to memorialize this horrific event by creating space for healing and understanding. We must resole to eradicate homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and of course racism in order to achieve full equality.

As we still mourn the loss of those 49 angels, I ask that we honor them with action. Register to vote. Participate in the political process and stamp out bigotry at all levels of government. We must ensure that our elected leaders are held accountable for not only their actions, but their words too. Our leaders shouldn’t be in the business of espousing and fanning the flames of hateful rhetoric against our community. Our leaders should lead by example by lifting people up, not tearing people down. And finally, our leaders should protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, not try to dismantle them. THAT is how we will honor the lives of the Pulse 49; THAT is how we will honor them with action.

May we never forget the 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016 at 2:02AM at Pulse.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda L. 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 Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chavez 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

Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter Ommy 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 Laureano Disla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto R. Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Jean 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 Carlos Nieves Rodríguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan A. Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez, 37 years old

Luis Sergio Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

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