The mayors of Orlando and Orange County have designated June 12 as “Orlando United Day — A Day of Love and Kindness” in recognition of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. However, they left out two marginalized communities impacted by the massacre that took the lives of 49 people and injured 53 others. 

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs launched a special page on the Orange County website introducing the day to remember the victims of the mass shooting and to “honor the survivors” and their families. 

They also released a video announcing the designated day.

In the video, both mayors failed to mention the LGBT or Latinx communities — both of which were largely included and affected by the tragedy. Pulse was an LGBT nightclub and the massacre took place on Latinx night.

“Our community will never forget the tragedy of Pulse or the grief of those who lost loved ones. From heartbroken family and friends to survivors putting shattered lives back together, our entire community stands with you,” Dyer states. 

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan criticized Dyer and Jacobs for their omissions. Sheehan is Orlando’s first openly gay city commissioner.

“If you’re going to be inclusive, you have to talk about everyone who was impacted. That’s not happening,” Sheehan told the Orlando Sentinel. “Frankly, I was afraid this was going to happen. I didn’t want it to be about the politicians. I wanted it to be about the people who were impacted.”

Dyer soon released a statement, but did not explain why they did not mention the minority communities involved. 

“Our commitment to those who were directly impacted by the loss of loved ones, those who survived the attack, those who were there that night and every single person who felt the pain and loss of this tragedy is unwavering.”

Jacobs released a statement in defense, stating it was not their intention to exclude communities.

“If in the absence of specific mention of our cherished LGBTQ and Hispanic populations in the video announcement for the Orlando United Day yesterday, the message was construed as insensitive or dismissive, I would certainly like to underscore that in no way was that the intention,” he said. “I regret if anyone experienced that reaction.”

Jacobs also used the word “anniversary” in reference to June 12 — a comment that Sheehan found offensive. 

“They were so busy pushing their marketing campaign that they said the word ‘anniversary,’ which is very hurtful to the families, because it’s not an anniversary, it’s a day of remembrance,” she said.

This incident comes weeks after Governor Rick Scott failed to mention the very same marginalized communities affected by the tragedy in his State of the State Address in early March.


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