On Sunday, June 12, 2016 (the middle of Pride month) at 7:20 am, I heard my phone vibrating on the nightstand. As my eyes began to focus, I realized it was Dr. Delores Jacobs calling me. My stomach sank as I knew this wasn’t going to be a regular call or day. She told me there had been a shooting at an LGBTQ bar and told me to call down the phone tree and come to The Center. In the wake of what was categorized as the deadliest U.S. civilian mass shooting at the time, our community did what we always do in moments of crisis: we came together.
We struggled to make sense of this act of domestic terrorism and gun violence that ended the lives of 49 members of our community. The Pulse Massacre shook our community to its core. Bars in our community have been more than watering holes; they have been and are our safe spaces, our oases of love and found family, and where we leave the confines of our daily closets to revel in joy.
At Pride that year, 49 Latinx community members led our Parade holding placards with the names, faces, and ages of those we’d lost. A somber reminder that Pride – from Stonewall to the present moment – is fundamentally about protest, mourning, activism, visibility, celebration, joy, and healing. While the devastation we’ve all grappled with in the wake of that vicious violation five years ago still seems inexplicable, it is always inspiring to know that despite the struggles and strife that our community faces, through it all, together, we are Resilient.
Yours in love and hope,
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride
P.S. Join me in honoring the lives of those lost and in remembering their names.
18 years old, Akyra Monet Murray
19 years old, Jason Benjamin Josaphat
20 years old, Luis Omar Ocasio Capo
21 years old, Alejandro Barrios Martinez
21 years old, Cory James Connell
22 years old, Juan Ramon Guerrero
22 years old, Luis Sergio Vielma
22 years old, Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz
23 years old, Stanley Almodovar III
24 years old, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz
24 years old, Jonathan A. Camuy Vega
24 years old, Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan
25 years old, Amanda L. Alvear
25 years old, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla
25 years old, Enrique L. Rios Jr.
25 years old, Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez
25 years old, Gilberto R. Silva Menendez
25 years old, Juan Chavez Martinez
25 years old, Leroy Valentin Fernandez
25 years old, Tevin Eugene Crosby
26 years old, Mercedez Marisol Flores
26 years old, Oscar A. Aracena Montero
27 years old, Frank Hernandez
27 years old, Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez
28 years old, Angel Candelario-Padro
29 years old, Antonio Davon Brown
29 years old, Darryl Roman Burt II
30 years old, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice
30 years old, Miguel Angel Honorato
31 years old, Gerald Arthur Wright
31 years old, Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández
32 years old, Christopher Andrew Leinonen
32 years old, Deonka Deidra Drayton
32 years old, Joel Rayon Paniagua
33 years old, Martin Benitez Torres
33 years old, Rodolfo Ayala Ayala
33 years old, Shane Evan Tomlinson
34 years old, Edward Sotomayor Jr.
35 years old, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez
35 years old, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado
36 years old, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera
37 years old, Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez
37 years old, Kimberly Jean Morris
37 years old, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon
39 years old, Luis Daniel Conde
40 years old, Javier Jorge Reyes
41 years old, Paul Terrell Henry
49 years old, Brenda Marquez McCool
50 years old, Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez
Join us for our Community Offrenda honoring the lives lost five years ago. Learn more here.