On an unexpected weekend in June, the city of Orlando was rocked with a string of violent attacks that created an earthquake of shock, grief, fear, hurt, and a sadness too terrible to name, that all ends of our globe have felt. It started with the shocking shooting of the young YouTube celebrity, The Voice reality contestant and established musician 22-year-old Christina Grimmie, gunned down by a deranged young man before he in turn killed himself. It ended with the horrific mass shooting at the gay bar Pulse, where 49 men and women lost their lives, and countless more saw their lives forever altered, shaken, and shattered.
The worst gun massacre in United States history happened in a gay bar, PULSE, Sunday, June 12, 2016 in Orlando, CA.
It happened during the United States Pride month of June which commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 1969. The Stonewall riot was the first televised riot over a period of time (approximately one week) allowing members and supporters of the LGBTQ community to join the protests against police violence and harassment.
Today’s many social media platforms allow us to respond more quickly than they were able to in 1969. By the eve of June 12, 2016 memorials and vigils were happening around the country. I attended one in Long Beach, CA, at which a couple hundred folks lit candles, sang and mourned. By the following evening I was at a vigil for Orlando in Los Angeles attended by many thousands at which, in Los Angeles style, the reading of the victims’ names began with an emotional tribute to the victims by Lady Gaga. I have included here a video of the reading of the names.