The horrific massacre at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub occurred on “Latino Night” and many of the victims were indeed of Latin descent.
“Our grieving is minuscule to what those families are facing,” said Stephen Fallon, executive director of Latinos Salud, a South Florida based HIV/AIDS service organization.
Fallon said the suppression by media outlets of the shooter’s decision to target Latinos at the LGBT club adds to all the hurt his staff is feeling. News reports were quick to link religion and sexuality to the shooting, but the Latino angle has largely been ignored, Fallon said.
According to authorities in Orange County, 90 percent of the fatalities are Latin.
“Make no mistake: self-appointed cultural vigilantes come armed not only with the bullets in their guns, but also with hate in their hearts,” Fallon wrote in a newsletter to supporters. “They are fired up by rhetoric that exploits people’s fears, rhetoric that we have heard aimed at Latinos, immigrants and members of the LGBT community all too often.”
Founded in 2008, Latinos Salud was designed to give Latino gay guys, their partners and friends a safe space to meet and access resources. The tragedy in Orlando is most certainly having an impact in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, Fallon said.
“It’s sinking in slowly,” Fallon said. “Some of our staff members have said they do not feel safe for Stonewall this weekend.”
Latinos Salud offers “informal” grief counseling, Fallon said.
Visit LatinosSalud.org for more information.