Inside the corporate offices of Citrix, various groups assisting victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre were presented donations.
In his pitch, Marco Antonio Quiroga asked for help.
“My call to action to all of you is very simple,” said Antonio Quiroga, program director for Contigo Fund. “Don’t forget us.”
With the year anniversary of the Pulse tragedy just months away, Antonio Quiroga said the healing process remains difficult.
“Remember this journey that individuals are on is going to be a long one,” Antonio Quiroga said. “And the challenges that marginalized people are facing in these very particularly challenging moments that we’re living in… in our country, I hope you will keep this message in your heart that you please don’t forget the individuals who are going to need this support far into the future.”
The Contigo Fund was launched last year to provide on the ground relief in Orlando for those still coping with the Pulse massacre as well as to honor the victims. Contigo translates “With You.” Our Fund, a South Florida LGBT philanthropic organization, manages Contigo’s $1.5 million dollar budget.
“Whenever I come to this building, I am always really inspired by your philanthropy and your looking out for your neighbor,” said Our Fund Chief Executive Officer David Jobin at Thursday’s check presentation held at Citrix’s Fort Lauderdale offices on Cypress Creek Road. “This is really a wonderful workspace.”
Following the Pulse tragedy, Citrix employees raised $49,110 for an Orlando Victims Fund. That money was then directed to eight Orlando based organizations.
“Citrix takes corporate citizenship so seriously,” said Lee Rubin, a senior manager in Citrix’s global reference programs department.
Organizations in Citrix’s Orlando Victims Fund are: Two Spirits Health Service, QLatinX, Proyecto Somos Orlando, LGBTQ Alliance, Equality Florida Institute, National Center for Victims of Crime and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of South Florida.
More than 90 percent of the Pulse victims have been identified as Latin and LGBT, said Antonio Quiroga. The tragedy, he said, also exposed many gaps in community needs.
“Those gaps were only exasperated by Pulse for these marginalized individuals,” said Antonio Quiroga.
QLatinX is seeking to help those on the margins. Christopher Cuevas, QLatinX executive director, addressed those concerns at the Citrix event. Cuevas' delivery was soft spoken and personal.
“I am a child of undocumented immigrants, farm workers, individuals who have been victims of so much animosity recently and historically,” Cuevas said. “I am a queer person of color and I wear those identities on my sleeve because it is so important to honor ourselves, our most authentic identities and live our most authentic truths.”
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QLatinX, Cuevas said, is an organization that believes in inclusion and welcomes those who are gender non-conforming. The organization formed, Cuevas said, so queer and transgender people of color could have a place to go to receive services. Discrimination, language barriers and a fear of deportation had previously sent many into the shadows, Cuevas said.
“Following the Pulse shooting, our organization was not an organization, we were a group of strangers,” Cuevas said. “Individuals who came from the same lived experience, who were undocumented, who were children of immigrants, who grew up in the labor fields and the farm fields, newly arrived from Puerto Rico or had been living in this country for a very long time and had strong rooted connections to the community and to their cultural and ethnic identities.”