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Watch: Civil Rights Leaders Respond to the Orlando Nightclub Tragedy

by Carolyn Simon June 12, 2016

Today, HRC President HRC President Chad Griffin was joined by other civil rights leaders outside the Human Rights Campaign's headquarters in Washington, D.C., to respond to the horrific massacre at a Florida LGBTQ nightclub.

"While today is a day of mourning in the wake of this tragedy, I say to LGBTQ people living in every corner in this country and around this globe: Continue to be bold, be loved, and be proud,” Griffin said.

“There are mothers and fathers, spouses and partners, siblings and friends who aren't thinking about any of that. They're simply wishing they had just one more moment to say I love you. During this, their darkest hour, we as a nation must be their strength. We must be their comfort. And we must promise that the memory of those they lost will never, ever fade,” Griffin said.

Griffin was joined by Mara Keisling, Executive Director, National Center for Transgender Equality; Janet Murguía; President and CEO, National Council of La Raza; Cornell Brooks, President, NAACP; Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition; Judith Lichtman, of the National Partnership for Women & Families and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Brenda Abdelall of Muslim Advocates; Jorge Amaro, of the National LGBTQ Task Force; and María Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino.

“We have had more than a dozen transgender people murdered so far this year. The hate, as Chad said, that is doing this, is the same hate that caused violence and death at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin and Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston,” Keisling said. “We need to get to the point where ll of us get together and say, ‘When they come for anyone, we will speak out … this is hate aimed at all of us. It is extremism aimed at all of us.”

“Make no mistake: When you violate, when you desecrate, when you assassinate the humanity of any of us, it is a civil rights issue at the top of the NAACP’s agenda,” Brooks said.

“We must condemn, and we must also come together. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community to help reassure our fellow Americans that they need not worry about living their lives or fear being open about who they are,” Murguía said. “We are saddened, but we are also strengthened in that unity.”

Lettman-Hicks spoke about the personal impact that she was feeling, as a Floridian and Afro-Latina. The Orlando nightclub had been celebrating its Latin night before the gunfire erupted.

“This is pride month for the LGBT community,” Lettman-Hicks said. “A time to celebrate and rejoice about living our authentic lives. Hate will not win.”

“Today, we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community,” Abdelall said. “Your grief is our grief. Your outrage is our outrage. We are all one family together.”

Watch the full video below.

Carolyn Simon
Carolyn Simon


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