Orlando Massacre Victims Honored at LGBTT Pride March
SAN JUAN – Members of nearly 90 organizations marched Sunday from the Parque del Indio in Condado to El Escambrón beach in Puerta de Tierra as part of the LGBTT Pride Parade, which honored victims of the massacre perpetrated in Pulse, an Orlando, Fla., nightclub.
Hundreds of attendees were convened by Colectivo Orgullo Arcoíris, or Rainbow Pride Collective, which for the past 26 years has organized the event. This year, it aimed to highlight the need for inclusive public policy ahead of the general elections in November.
“For us, it is important that candidates know what the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and transsexual community is demanding, but also that people are clear about what we are asking of the government,” Rainbow Pride President Luis Conti told Inter News Service.
He explained that the proposals involve education, healthcare, security, family, justice and culture.
The collective also decided to devote the celebratory acts to carry out a tribute to the 49 victims of the Orlando attack. Two weeks ago, 49 people killed and more than 50 wounded when Omar Mateen opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub, which is frequented by members of the LGBTT community. Of the murdered victims, 23 were Puerto Rican.
Those marching Sunday held posters and wore shirts with messages against hate and homophobia, and in solidarity with the victims.
“We are marching for the brothers we lost in Orlando; we have friends in the hospital. We have families of people who are no longer with us. But the message is, ‘We are not afraid; we are still here.’ And to show we are a united community, we have more than 15 religious groups marching with us,” Conti said.
When arriving in the Third Millennium Park, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto unveiled a monument honoring the 49 people who died in Orlando. The work, by Cero Design & Built, is located at the park’s entrance and consists of six vertical pieces covered in a mosaic featuring the colors of the rainbow.
The names of the victims are written on the monument, along with a message that reads: “May this tribute to life reinforce our commitment to combat hatred, a product of homophobia, with love and respect.”