By Lawrence Pfeil, Jr.
Six years ago today, our nation woke up on a Sunday morning to horrifying news of the worst gun massacre, at that time, in American history.
But our Community woke up to the news of the worst hate crime ever executed on LGBTQ+ people. Yet again, we felt the hate and rage of homophobia and were overwhelmed with the grief at the senseless slaughter of innocent members of “our family.” They were shot dead in a place where it should have been safe to be who they were, who they loved, and gather together. The 49 victims, nearly all Latin and people of color, were young men and women out enjoying life in Orlando on a summer night and whose lives we now remember and honor.
That day six years ago, as today is, was “Broadway’s Biggest Night,” the Tony Awards. There’s a time-honored adage that “the show must go on,” but with so many in the Broadway community deeply and personally affect by the violent hate crime how could it? By doing what theatre does best, bring people together to experience a message of our shared humanity.
It was also the night that Hamilton went down in the history books (again) and its legendary composer/lyricist, Lin-Manuel Miranda gave one of the most powerful and unforgettable acceptance speeches in Tony history.
Three days later, luminaries of the theatre community gathered again as “Broadway for Orlando” to record “What the World Needs Now Is Love” a benefit with 100% of the proceeds going to the LGBT Center of Orlando.
In the six years since 49 LGBTQ people were gunned downed out of hate at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the state of Florida has become a breeding ground for homophobic and transphobic hate, intolerance, erasure, and censorship. The laws being enacted there and in other states discriminating against our community will surely lead to more violence and more deaths.
The world needs love now more than ever. We must out love hate.
“We Will Not Let hate Win” is the pledge of the One Pulse Foundation in charge of the permanent Pulse memorial, but their work goes far beyond memorializing. The foundation includes scholarships, education, programing and running the interim memorial in Orlando.
Watch their video Together We Can, Witness Our Story of Where Loves HERE
Read our previous Pride Month 2022 posts