Remember and Reflect: A Year After Pulse

Lili Weinstein

The LGBT Resource Center held a memorial discussion to honor and reflect on the 49 victims and those who were wounded in the attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando a year ago. Students, faculty and staff, along with representatives from Equality Florida, discussed community and activism. Spinnaker was asked to keep the discussion anonymous because it was a safe space for those who chose to be there.

Kaitlin Legg, the Director of the LGBT Resource Center, stressed wanting to be able to work through the pain that comes with a tragedy like Pulse. Dwan Love, the Outreach Coordinator for Equality Florida who facilitated the discussion, echoed this sentiment by choosing not to focus on where the discussion members were that day.

Many attending said that it felt like the tragedy happened only a month ago, because the feelings are so new, especially for those who were not out or comfortable and did not feel as if they could grieve.

Dr. Lucy Croft, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, said that after the tragedy, all she could think about were the students. Despite all the negative emotions, Croft added, on Monday morning the LGBT Resource Center would still be there.

Some said they couldn’t grieve for a few weeks because their friends and families kept questioning them about why this has to “be about gays,” or “be about race.” They spoke about seeing posts on social media that were largely victim blaming, and a faculty member said that the only way to fight that ignorance is through education, but admitted to how hard that can be at a time like this.

Angel Kalafatis, a Graduate Assistant at the Resource Center, was asking herself after the tragedy at what point was this community worth it, and other students echoed her sentiment. All of them said community was too big a part of them to give up, and so now the only thing left to do is to work through this. One student mentioned that many people were averse to politicizing this event, but those in the discussion said that it would be important to, and that is how change is made.

Then and now, students and faculty, who are either allies or LGBT themselves are working for change and visibility to ensure that something like this never happens again.


In Memoriam of the Pulse Victims:

  1. Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
  2. Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
  3. Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
  4. Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
  5. Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
  6. Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
  7. Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
  8. Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
  9. Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
  10. Cory James Connell, 21 years old
  11. Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
  12. Deonka Deidra Drayton “Zeus”, 32 years old
  13. Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
  14. Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
  15. Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
  16. Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
  17. Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
  18. Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
  19. Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
  20. Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
  21. Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
  22. Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
  23. Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
  24. Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
  25. Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
  26. Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
  27. Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
  28. Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
  29. Kimberly “KJ” Morris, 37 years old
  30. Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
  31. Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
  32. Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
  33. Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
  34. Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
  35. Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
  36. Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
  37. Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
  38. Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado “Eman”, 35 years old
  39. Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
  40. Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
  41. Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
  42. Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
  43. Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
  44. Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
  45. Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
  46. Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
  47. Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
  48. Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
  49. Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

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