ArticleType: Member News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement by St Pete Pride on the Orlando Gay Nightclub Shooting
Tampa Bay, FL, Sunday, June 12, 2016 – On behalf of St Pete Pride Board of Directors, volunteers, staff and supporters, we express our deepest sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night in Orlando, Florida at the Pulse Nightclub.
We cherish the people of Orlando and consider them our family in Pride. To merely say our thoughts are with them, their loved ones and the community doesn’t begin to express the heartache, sadness and anger that we share with them today.
The fact that this took place in a LGBTQ+ nightclub makes us reflect on our history. This is not the first time that LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters have been attacked. We know that hatred across sexual orientations, identities and races pose a particular threat to our way of life and our values.
We take solitude that the outburst of unity, strength and love across Florida, from all sexual orientations, identities and races, proves that those with hatred can still be overcome. And this act of solidarity gives us hope. In the words of the late gay activist Harvey Milk, “Hope will never be silent.”
We take this message with us as we continue to plan for St Pete Pride Weekend. Since the Boston Bombings, security at St Pete Pride and other high profile events across the nation have been increased and rewritten to provide a safe event for attendees. Each year we work with officials from the City of St. Petersburg on maintaining an environment that is welcoming and safe for all who attend.
“No single act of hate can detour us from coming together as a community,” says Eric Skains, Executive Director of St Pete Pride. “Pride and unity is more important now than ever before. From the Stonewall Inn in New York and the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans to the now Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, acts of violence at LGBTQ+ welcoming establishments has been part of our dark history. Each time our community has come together and silenced the voices of hate.”
The 14th St Pete Pride Weekend will take place June 24 to 26, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. For more information, including how individuals can help those affected by the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, visit www.stpetepride.com.
The purpose of St. Pete Pride is to promote unity, visibility, self-esteem and a positive image of and among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community of Tampa Bay and throughout the State of Florida by way of cultural and educational programs and activities.
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Eric Skains, Executive Director