The voice of LGBT members of the PCS Union

Proud visits Orlando

Pulse

On 12 June 2016, Omar Mateen entered Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killed 49 people by gunshot and injured 53 more. This is widely known as the largest mass shooting in USA history and has been labelled the most appalling LGBT-phobic attacks ever seen.

Dorion Griffiths and Ste Heyward, two of Proud’s officers went to Orlando on 14 June 2016 for a pre-arranged holiday. Whilst on their break they twice attended the memorial site at the Dr Phillips Center for Performing Arts and laid flowers on behalf of PCS Proud. They also attended City Hall in Orlando and wrote in the condolences book which was surrounded by 49 wreaths with the pictures of the victims who were killed.

Dorion, who is Chair of PCS Proud, said “Whilst this was intended to be a holiday, a bit of R&R, it was important to us to go and pay tribute to the victims of such a horrific attack and stand shoulder to shoulder with a community that is in a state of grief. In these times we must remain united. We were truly honoured to be able to take a message of love, support and solidarity from PCS Proud to the memorial site.”

 

Dorion Writing Message

Whilst memorials and funerals began to take place, the Westboro Baptist Church attempted to picket the funerals with the usual “God hates fags” placards. In order to maintain a modicum of dignity, compassion, privacy and respect for those grieving for their loved ones, members of the public dressed as angels and blocked Westboro from spreading their hate at this heart-breaking time.Angels

Whilst this incident may have happened in the United States of America, PCS Proud believes that an injury to one part of the worldwide LGBT community is an injury to all of the community. PCS also has members that work for organisations such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and other departments with a worldwide presence.

“Regardless of where this incident took place, any attack on the LGBT community is unacceptable. This incident has been truly horrific and traumatic for many people and we must continue to show our love and support.” Says Ste Heyward, Proud’s Communications Organiser, “The One Orlando fund has been set up to help the victims and their families. I urge everyone to donate what they can. With issues such as travel, medical bills and more, this is an extremely difficult time for them.”

One Orlando

The One Orlando Fund was formally announced by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, people can make donations to this fund and receive updates by going to http://oneorlando.org.

PCS Proud has formally written to Mayor Dyer to express our condolences, support and solidarity.

It is more important than ever that we recognise and respect each other’s differences, allow each other to be our whole selves and stand together in the face of adversity.

In closing, Dorion says “We must take the saying that equality is at the heart of everything we do and put it in to practice every day. Attacks such as this dreadful one must not be allowed to take place. I encourage everyone to take part in activities to raise awareness of equality issues with politicians and the public alike. Whether this is being a part of community groups fighting for gun control in the USA or becoming involved in the work against prejudice in the UK, we must all continue to fight to make the world a better, safer place.”

If you have any questions about the work of PCS Proud, please email Proud@pcs.org.uk or tweet us on @PCS_Proud.

Pulse names of victims killed

This post is in memory of:

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

 

 

****Notes****

PCS Proud is a part of the Public and Commercial Services Union in the UK which has members carrying out work for the UK Government in one form or another. Proud is the LGBT Network within PCS. The Chair of Proud is Dorion Griffiths (@DorionGriffiths). Proud can be contacted on Proud@pcs.org.uk

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