Hispanic Federation’s Florida Director: We Remember The Lives Lost at Pulse & Continue to Fight for the Freedom and Healing of our Latinx LGBTQ Community

Orlando, Fla. - In remembrance of the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in which 49 lives were taken and 58 were wounded, Hispanic Federation’s Florida Director Yanidsi Velez issued the following statement regarding Pride Month and its work to advance the rights and freedom of Florida’s Latinx LGBTQ communities:

“Our community and families are still healing from the massacre that occurred at Pulse Nightclub three years ago. 49 Latinx LGBTQ lives, many Puerto Rican and immigrant, were lost in the deadliest act of violence against the LGBTQ community in our nation’s history.

Through Proyecto Somos Orlando, Hispanic Federation has been working to honor the lives of those lost at Pulse, and to provide the survivors and loved ones of the victims with long-term, bilingual, and bicultural wraparound support services. We have been able to connect hundreds of survivors, families, friends and community members to mental health and trauma services, counseling, and other supportive services.

Pulse was a safe space for so many of Florida’s Latinx LGBTQ community, and a sanctuary for our immigrant LGBTQ brothers and sisters, so we are making sure we create more safe spaces that allow our Latinx community to heal; feel welcomed regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or citizenship status; and to have dialogue about how to collectively fight transphobia, homophobia, and xenophobia.

This week we come together to stand in solidarity to comfort one another through a healing process and a multitude of actions of love and kindness, which will serve as a reminder of how strong our community is when we come together to overcome hate and injustice. At Hispanic Federation, we continue to fight unjust laws and divisive rhetoric that deny LGBTQ communities basic rights, protections, and the opportunity to live freely without fear of discrimination, serve openly, and seek refuge in this country.”