Late Sunday morning on June 12, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer went live a few blocks from Pulse nightclub – the number of bodies had doubled – 49 people were dead. When the gunfire stopped the night before, the shooting became the worst in United States history.
Shocked by the news, reactions and condolences began to poor in from all parts of the United States and world.
MSU’s LGBT community has been mourning the loss of several lives, a process of grief that Alliance of Queer and Ally Students representative Olivia Brennero said will not have an expiration date.
Days following the shooting MSU responded in all directions, from student group to leaders of the university.
“In recent days, there’s been a vast outpouring of support and condolence to the victims’ families and community. I want to join with those voices to reassure all in the Spartan family of this institution’s commitment to our LGBTQ community and to other affected groups, and of our continued insistence on respect for diversity and rejection of hate.” President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a statement.
MSU’s Alumni Association united with the University of Michigan to stand together with pride. “Our two great institutions will never let hate prevail,” MSU Alumni Association President Scott Westerman wrote on Facebook. Westerman then added on his personal Facebook page, “Begin every day asking yourself: What can I do today to make the world better than it is right now? What can I do to inspire the disaffected, the fearful, the ignorant and the hungry to manifest a brighter future? ”
In a previous The State News article, the Associated Students of Michigan State University and the Council of Graduate Students sent condolences and stated that MSU won’t live in fear.
“As Presidents of the undergraduate, graduate and graduate-professional student bodies at Michigan State University, we want to express our support and solidarity to our friends and peers of the LGBTQ community on campus and throughout the greater Lansing area,” ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca and COGS President Dee Jordan wrote in a letter to The State News.
The LBGT Resource Center spoke out on the shooting with a public statement:
“We move now to healing, mourning, and doing something with this. We may know the victims. We may know someone who knows the victims. We may have been patrons of Pulse at one point in our own lives. We are all connected to what happened in one way or another.”
Orlando has had a tremendous impact among the LGBT community, with fear surrounding the conversation.
“It’s a tragedy for all of us,” Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity Treasurer and Brotherhood Director Seth Proffitt said. Delta Lamda Phi is a fraternity for gay, bisexual and progressive men. “We have a chapter down in Orlando so we were really worried for a while that we had brother who were there.”
“The predominant experience is not necessarily grief, the predominant feeling is fear,” President of LGBT Resource Center Deanna Hurlbert said.
Hurlbert said the Vigil held on campus for the Orlando shooting and the Capitol building vigil had people afraid to stand in large crowds and be in a public setting.
On Tuesday June 21, the LBGT Resource Center and MSU Muslim Students’ Association co-hosted a night of solidarity with other campus groups, where they remembered the lives lost in Orlando and bring together both groups
Islamophobia has been brought up in light of the shooting,“There would be a precedence set to get really Islamophobic and spread that hatred,” Brennero said.
The conversation comes after discovery that the Orlando shooter was supposedly radicalized by ISIS and the FBI release of the 911 call made by the gunman, who pledged allegiance to ISIS to the caller.
“Whether it was based off of religion or not, I still think that it was blatantly based in homophobia,” Proffitt said.
Proffitt said, his fraternity has had a presence at all the vigils and gatherings since after the shooting.
“I’ve been really proud of our community,” Brennero said. “We haven’t resorted to any kind of hatred of our own.”
At the event, the LBGT Resource Center united with the MSU Muslim Students’ Association to make a point of the two communities working together despite the negativity surrounding the relationship of both communities.
“Its been a really beautiful thing to watch these communities coming together and working through this tragedy,” Brennero said.
While the Orlando shooting is in headlines, other mass shootings have been brought up during the conversation on gun control, specifically the Newtown shooting.
“We as a community have a fair amount of lobbying power,” Brennero said.
The main concern is the lobbying resulting in no legislation, bill passages or change, Brennero said.
“It’s a tragedy amidst a number of global tragedies and many, many instances of violence,” Hurlbert said. “The gun did exactly what the gun is designed to do.”
Nicholas Antaya contributed to this article.
Full article: http://statenews.com/article/2016/06/orlando-shooting-hits-lgbt-community