Four years on, the Orlando Pulse Massacre remains one of the deadliest shootings in American history. In loving memory of those we lost, and as a call to action against police brutality, survivor Brandon Wolf has penned an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel and released a new video featuring images of the fallen.
“America faces a similar crossroads today,” Wolf writes. “Will we allow this rage to devour us? Or will we honor the ones we’ve lost with action, using our fury to fight the machine that is white supremacy? We watched as a nation the killing of George Floyd. The 8 minutes and 46 seconds laid bare the casual cruelty, the normalization of police violence against black people. And the sickening knowledge that this was not an aberration.”
4 years missing your faces at parties.
4 years without your smiles.
4 years since a night out together became the night I never got to say goodbye.
4 years since a man walked into Pulse and ripped you away.
— Brandon Wolf (@bjoewolf) June 12, 2020
“are faced with the opportunity to honor them with our righteous indignation — to turn it into a rallying cry for a world they would be proud of,” he continues. “A world where we face the uncomfortable tentacles of racism instead of sweeping them under the rug. A world where equity is a reality and black lives do matter. A world where “justice for all” is an institution, not a slogan. We are challenged to honor them with our voices, our votes, our commitment to facing the ugly truths of this nation, and our stubborn insistence that we deserve more. We are challenged to honor them with action.”
In addition to his op-ed, Wolf also tweeted a memorial to his friends Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and Juan Guerrero, both of whom died in the shooting. “4 years missing your faces at parties,” he tweeted. “4 years without your smiles. 4 years since a night out together became the night I never got to say goodbye. 4 years since a man walked into Pulse and ripped you away. 4 years and it still hurts like yesterday.”
Below is a painful and important look back at the 49 members of the LGBTQ community lost in the unthinkable attack: