June 12, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VANCOUVER, WA – The recent mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando this morning is yet another example of brutal attacks against the LGBT community that have spanned centuries. While the LGBT community has enjoyed unprecedented victories in recent years with regard to civil rights and equality in the United States and elsewhere around the world the recent shooting at Pulse is a stark reminder of the lengthy journey we still face before all American citizens – and people around the world – are truly free from the yoke of oppression and violence.
Every state in our nation has a dark part of their history that includes oppression by the state, fortunately we are closer than ever to abolishing discrimination in our laws – it is time we work together to abolish discrimination and hate in our hearts.
Facts are not clear at this time whether the attack was motivated by the assailant’s radicalized sense of religion or whether it was motivated by homophobia – in any case we know that the true motivation was hate. We cannot give in to our base instincts to lay blame upon the people of an entire religion, we must be vigilant against the urge to respond to hate with hate, to violence with violence.
As we continue to watch this tragedy unfold, it is important to remember the words of wisdom offered by the popular children’s program host, Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” During and immediately after the shooting we saw the helpers: the people in the nightclub engaging the shooter and preventing more death, the people who were helping potential victims to safety, the first responders and the hundreds upon hundreds of citizens who lined up around the block to donate blood in an effort to save more lives. The Floridians, strangers to the victims, are literally helping by giving a piece of themselves to help someone they will likely never meet.
Today the members of AFGE District 11 stand in solidarity with the Orlando community in the wake of this violent attack against the LGBT community. There has been speculation that this may not be an isolated incident, that perhaps more LGBT gatherings might be targeted during national LGBT Pride Month. This unfounded fear will not deter the brave citizens of this country from gathering in a spirit of peace, hope and celebration of our strong and vibrant democracy. Today we are all LGBT, we are all Orlando.
The American Federation of Government Employees represents hundreds of thousands of federal workers and is the fastest growing union in the United States. AFGE District 11 represents federal employees in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Guam, Okinawa, Utah, and Wyoming.
For more information contact:
AFGE District 11 Pride Coordinator
(208) 477-1273, firstname.lastname@example.org