Bridging Solidarity, Ending Hate

Press Release

June 20, 2016

Contact: Annie Sayo,


Bridging Solidarity, Ending Hate

It is with deep sorrow and sadness that the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) delivers this statement. We send our condolences to the families, loved ones, friends and communities of all the 49 human beings in Orlando, FL whose lives were stolen on June 12, 2016. NAFCON gives unwavering support and stands in staunch solidarity with the people and communities of Orlando.

NAFCON prideOn June 12, 2016, an attack that killed 49 LGBTQ (Including: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, Queer and Gender Non-Conforming) people of color, many from the Latina/o and black communities in one of the largest mass shootings in the U.S.   We are profoundly disheartened as we remember that exactly one year ago, the nation celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling which granted same-sex marriage throughout the country. Members of the LGBTQ working class and people of color community believe the struggle for genuine liberation is far from over as we are now seeing. It is a significant time to humanize conversations and take action on LGBTQ issues to also counter the US culture of hatred, violent massacres, and dehumanizing foreign policy.

“As we pause to reflect, we must remember that violence is propagated not just in the execution of hate crimes, such as the one in Orlando, but in the everyday injuries and aggressions that insult, discriminate, and make one group less than. In restoring our sense of safety, all of us have a role to play in standing up against injustices and coming together as community, in solidarity,” says Maribel Martínez, Director Santa Clara County’s  Office of LGBTQ Affairs, the first office of its kind in the nation.

U.S. history is rooted in a system built on hate, fear and discrimination, leading to state-sanctioned violence and hate crimes on im/migrants, workers, people of color and the LGBTQ communities across the US. We now witness the socio-economic and political structures that neglect to protect marginalized communities from this culture and system of violence. Im/migrants and refugees from war-torn and impoverished nations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are forced to migrate, as many of our brothers and sisters from Orlando were forced to do. All were in search for freedom and a better life, fleeing structural poverty, environmental devastation, conflict and war, as many in our Filipino community are forced to do as well.

In an interview with Darnell L. Moore, Lillian Rivera, Director of Advocacy and Capacity Building says, “The economic situation in Puerto Rico is such that there are people leaving in huge numbers and the prime place they are going to is Orlando. Lots of people we lost are quite possible going towards searching for economic stability for their families because of the economic situation in the islands with some dreams in the US to find freedom and safety around their queer identities.”

While mainstream media outlets pour blame and instigate hate between the LGBTQ and Muslim communities, let us be reminded of foreign policies that manufactured international terrorism. The same corporations and leaders of this country that are now revisiting gun policies are some of the same leaders who created of these destructive weapons also known as assault rifles, which are designed to efficiently kill as many people as possible.

The attack in Orlando is very much personal to the LGBTQ community as well as it is political. The nature of all forms of violence has been exhausting for the LGBTQ community. Many suffer layers of violence initially in the family unit, work place and other institutions in society, instilling a self-taught feeling of survival mode at all times. “Coming out is a constant practice as we enter new environments throughout life, and it never becomes an easy task. The LGTBQ community has to be mindful about  who we are, who we share that with, and when it is safe to do so,” says Annie Sayo, NAFCON Treasurer.

LGBTQ-run club establishments, which are places of sanctuary, validation, safety and camaraderie for the LGBTQ community, have steadily declined in the last decade. In the midst of US elections, we must remember that the heart of the matter driving conversations on gun laws is the personal lives of the 49 human beings who were best friends, lovers, mothers, im/migrants, fathers, sons, daughters, people of color and of Latina/o descent celebrating freedom.

In a few days, June 26 will mark the 47th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 where our LGBTQ brothers and sisters fought against the harassment and violent strikes by police officers. Many have already started gathering for PRIDE celebration throughout the U.S for it is in the month of June that the LGBTQ community joins in celebration of advancements that have been made in our community through political struggle.

For all the 49 sheroes and heroes of Pulse nightclub, may your souls continue dancing to our music of freedom, and may your souls rest in eternal peace through power and justice. We commemorate you today, and will celebrate you through our future progress and ensure your last moments of fighting for your life was not in vain. In loving memory, we stand in silence only for a moment but more importantly, we will shout for you until the echoes of our cries reach our ultimate goal of freedom. In your names, we call on all communities to remember to resist the attempts of pitting vulnerable communities against each other and to act with love and commitment to bridge solidarity across religions, sexualities, races, ethnicities and beliefs to end hate.



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