Photo caption – left to right: Friends of Diversity Plaza Chair Shekar Krishnan, SUKHI NY Co-Founder Shazia Kausar (wearing scarf), Democratic District Leader Ellen Raffaele, Council Member Daniel Dromm, Public Advocate Letitia James gather for a vigil on Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza in the wake of yesterday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.
Jackson Heights, NY, June 13, 2016 – Yesterday evening NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst), NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-NYC), NYC Public Advocate Letitia James (D-NYC), NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (D-NYC), Muslim Democratic Club of NYC President Ali Najmi, SUKHI NY President Agha Saleh, other elected officials, and Muslim and LGBT community leaders gathered at Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza to denounce violence in all its forms and pay their respects to the victims of the Orlando terror attack.
Early Sunday morning, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded over 50 others at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The FBI has called the shooting an act of terrorism. Vigil participants called for unity in the aftermath of the tragedy and spoke out against those who would attempt to pit one community against the other in the wake of the shooting. Speakers also called for a federal ban on military-style assault weapons.
“I stand united with my Muslim and LGBT brothers and sisters to denounce this morning’s mass shooting in Orlando and hate in all its forms,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst), who is openly-gay. “We will not be divided by these tragedies: an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us. I remain committed to ending senseless acts of violence and will continue to advocate for the passage of common sense gun control laws that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals.”
“I’m absolutely heartbroken to learn of the horrific tragedy that took place in an Orlando nightclub earlier today and my thoughts and prayers are with victims’ families,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “As our nation agonizes over yet another brutal, senseless act of violence, we must stand united and in particular with our LGBT community to denounce hate, attempts to instill fear within our communities, and any effort to undermine the values we hold dear as Americans.”
“To the families who have lost their loved ones, you are in our hearts and prayers. At a time like this, we must stand united in solidarity,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D-Queens). Each life lost is a very real cost of unbridled firearms and weaponry in our country. Each life lost must be paid an homage by creating the space where we can come together to talk honestly and openly about the complex intersection of homophobia, islamophobia, xenophobia. Together, as one borough of over 2.3 million people, we don’t deny it – we condemn this heinous act of hate and of terror that reverberates in the scales of both lives lost and utter senselessness.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, families and friends of the Orlando terror attack,” said State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens). “I am sick and tired of having to denounce, once again, a hateful, barbaric, terrorist attack that took the lives of so many innocent people from us. When is this madness going to stop? What was perpetrated in Orlando is another reminder that we must take action, and one step we can take as a society, is ending hate, ending gun violence. Enough is enough. My heart goes out to the Orlando and the LGBT communities. This was, as President Obama said, a terrorist and hate crime against all of us.”
“I am deeply disturbed by the shootings in Orlando that left 50 people dead,” Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens) said. “It pains me to see there is still hatred in the world, particularly after I recently attended this year’s Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights. So many people from around the city came together to support the LGBT community, but we cannot only show our support during parades and parties, we must also be allies during the tragedies, like the one that occurred this morning. My hope is that one day, shootings and acts of violence become a mere thing of the past. I offer my thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.”
“Our hearts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims of the deadly shooting in Orlando,” said NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-Queens). “In the face of such random violence and terror, we must stand together to support one another. I thank Council Member Dromm for bringing together LGBTQ and Muslim leaders to denounce this attack. No one should be targeted because of who they love or who they are. It is against the values we all hold dear. Additionally, the weapons used in the attack are entirely too easy to obtain, and we must move beyond rhetoric to take sensible actions and remove them from the market.”
“As a New Yorker and American, I condemn this unspeakable act of hate targeting the LGBT community,” said Ali Najmi, president of the Muslim Democratic Club of NY. This is an attack on all of us and we will not let this hatred divide our communities. We mourn this enormous loss of life caused by a mass shooting and urge our lawmakers to work seriously on passing common sense gun control” – Ali Najmi, Muslim Democratic Club of NY.
The Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group issued the following statement: The Bangladeshi American Advocacy Group extends our heartfelt condolences and prayers to all those who were lost, their families and those that were injured in this unspeakable crime against humanity. Muslims in NYC and nationwide stand with the people of Orlando against all acts of violence towards innocent people.