O for Orlando


For 6 years of my life I lived in Orlando. I met beautiful people who welcomed me into their lives and made me feel at home in a place that always felt so foreign to me. Orlando was a cocoon where I was able to grow into my adult self. I fell in love in Orlando deeper than I have ever been in life. It was a nectar sweet deep south homegrown type of love that snatched me by my insides and suckled every part of me. It was real good love that sadly washed away with the tide. On another occasion, I was engaged in Orlando, given the ring of my dreams by a woman who made me feel like a queen. Orlando saw my first stage play, the publishing of my first book. The many smiles I met in Orlando coupled with growing pains made it both a place I loved and disliked. My ex fiancé is an officer that frequently worked off duty assignments at Pulse nightclub. I instantly thought of her and my first love when I heard the news. I prayed that neither of them were involved in the tragedy unfolding. The last few days I’ve cried and prayed for the 49 people who lost their lives and the 53 that were injured. The sickness of Omar Mateen is frightening because somewhere right now, there are at least a hundred more just like him.

I am both angered and saddened by the hateful comments that many have issued about the victims. The notion that their deaths should be rejoiced or that in some way they deserved their fate because of their lifestyle. The response of some Christian leaders has been anything but Christian like. I have no comment for their ignorance.

I pray for the family and friends of all involved with this tragedy. May each find peace and comfort in the days to come.

Say Their Names!

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


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