Edward Sotomayor Jr., Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz...
These names, along with many others that belong to the 49 victims killed in Orlando at Pulse on Sunday, all seem to have at least one thing in common: Latino heritage. After all, it was "Latin night" at the nightclub the evening of the massacre.
And some in the Latino community, including "My So-Called Life" alum Wilson Cruz, have asked that the media not forget that this tragedy was, in many ways, "a direct attack on LGBT Latinos" and it should be reported as such.
“Naming those names and where they’re from and the struggle that they were living daily as LGBT Latinos is part of the story and not naming it, to me, feels like erasing a large part of who they are and their experience," Cruz, who lost a family member in the shooting, told The Huffington Post. "Let’s not whitewash their experience, it’s multi-faceted.”
With that in mind, we visited the memorial at Stonewall in New York City's West Village and asked LGBTQ Latinxs and their allies to write a message in honor of the lives lost in Orlando. Here's what they had to say:
In his interview with HuffPost, Cruz also had a message of his own for any young LGBTQ Latinxs who are afraid to be who they are because of the tragedy:
I don’t know that there is anything that I could say that is going to take the pain away but I can tell you this: I hope they find some refuge and some comfort in knowing that they are members of a long line of LGBT Latino people that have fought their entire lives, generation after generation, for our right to live the lives that we live now... And while the pain that they feel right now and the fear that they feel right now is very real, their responsibility is to feel it, to understand it, to never forget it but to use it so that the young people who come after them won’t have to deal with fear in the same way. Because that’s what people did for them, and that’s what people did for me.
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