After Tragedy, Helping Our Community Heal
The Pulse Nightclub massacre rocked the entire nation. Young people out for a night of dancing and fun robbed of their lives by a crazed gunman fueled by hate and easy access to firearms. For Orlando’s LGBTQ and Latino communities the toll of the murders was especially heavy. More than 75 percent of the casualties were young, LGBTQ, Latino and Puerto Rican, many of them escaping the economic insecurity of the island.
Hispanic Federation responded quickly to the tragedy at Pulse by creating Proyecto Somos Orlando. The project is a one-stop wraparound service center providing long-term bilingual and bicultural support to people affected by the Pulse shooting. Partnering with local Latino community-based organizations, the initiative offers a multitude of services including mental health and legal assistance, case management, crisis intervention, and individual and group counseling, among other supportive services. The program also provides education on critical LGBTQ issues such as gender identity, sexual orientation and anti-homophobia. Already, more than 300 individuals have received services and support through Proyecto Somos Orlando.
“Shootings of this type have become all too common in our nation,” said Hispanic Federation President José Calderón. “In this case the already terrible suffering was compounded by the fact that many of the victims and their families couldn’t count on services that were culturally competent. We have a great network in Orlando and we knew they could provide the kind of care people in the community needed. We are really proud of this effort and will be around for the long haul.”