Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Val Demings (10th District of Florida)
June 12, 2021
Orlando, FL: Rep. Val Demings (FL-10), today made the following statement on the 5th anniversary of the Pulse shooting. The Pulse Nightclub is in Rep. Demings’ congressional district in Orlando.
Said Rep. Demings, “It has been five years but it feels like yesterday. Today I am thinking of the 49 who we lost—49 human beings, 49 dreams, 49 futures, 49 families missing a loved one. I am thinking of the survivors who still need our fullest support as they work through physical and mental wounds. I am thinking of the families with an empty seat at the table. Nothing can bring back what was lost, but we can do everything in our power to fill that void with love, support, and a commitment to care for our community not only today, but in the years to come.
“I echo our mayor to say to the survivors and family members of Pulse: it’s okay to not be okay. This was a tragedy. The nation may have watched and grieved with us, but the pain that you may be feeling is personal. I want you to know that we embrace you with love, not as symbols but as yourselves. If you are struggling, there is help available, and I encourage you to reach out.
“It can be hard to find the words, because the truth is that no words can make this right for the survivors and families of those we lost. That’s why five years ago we promised to ‘honor them with action,’ not just with words. As we move forward from this anniversary, it is my prayer that all of us will recommit ourselves to that mission, to ensure that every Pulse survivor—and every American—can live in a nation where each person is safe to go out to a nightclub or any other place, where our LGBTQ community is protected, where the highest-quality mental health support is available to those who need it, and where we treat gun violence as the threat that it is to our loved ones. I know that we can do better, and as we commemorate this sorrowful anniversary, I believe that we must do better.”