A memorial candlelight vigil will be held tonight for the victims of Sunday morning’s attack at the Pulse night club in Orlando. The event will be at 6 p.m. at Seville Square Park.
The shooting marks the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history.
“While no one would ever conceive of PRIDE celebrations being marked by tragedy, we are still committed to equality as a civil right and eradicating hate against the LGBTQ+ community,”STAMPED Film Fest board president, Ashley Rupp said.
Candles with holders will be provided. The event is sponsored by STAMPED Pensacola’s LGBT Film Festival, UWF Lambda Coalition, STRIVE, Pensacola PRIDE (Gay Grassroots), and #FROMPENSACOLA.
Elected officials, political candidates and organizations have issued messages about the shooting:
Gov. Rick Scott:
“Yesterday’s terror attack was an attack on our state and entire nation. This morning, I have asked President Obama to declare an emergency so that the full resources of the federal government can be made available for all those impacted by this horrific massacre.
“I have remained in constant communication with federal, state and local law enforcement. I have spoken with our hospitals who are caring for those who are wounded and recovering. I have also been in contact with some of the victims’ families to let them know we are grieving with them and will be there for them every step of the way. Our state is mourning, but the Orlando community is strong. We are all coming together, and we will get through this together. I ask every American to continue to pray for our state and nation and all those affected by this terror attack.”
U.S. Conference of Mayors, President Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
“America’s mayors stand with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and all in Orlando on this very sad day. The Orlando community is strong, has already demonstrated its unity in responding to this tragedy, and will get through this difficult time. The victims, their families, and all of the people in Orlando are in our thoughts and prayers.
“We praise the local Orlando police officers as we recognize and have reported to the nation that it is the local city police departments that continue to be the first to respond to the national terrorist threats that exist in our cities.
“There is so much that is deeply troubling about this, the nation’s most recent mass shooting: The number of dead and wounded is incomprehensible and record-setting. It’s location suggests that the LBGT community was targeted. It is being investigated as a possible terror attack.
“When The U.S. Conference of Mayors meets in Indianapolis in less than two weeks, we will know more about the shooter’s motivations and will be able to discuss what mayors can do in our cities and our nation to reduce acts of hate and terror, and the unacceptable level of gun violence.”
State Rep. Alan Williams (D-Leon County)
Last night, the whole State of Florida suffered a great loss all in the name hate.
I ask that you join me in praying for the victims, their families and those that were injured in this senseless act.
I commend the brave men & women, the Orlando law enforcement officers who went in, and stopped the shooter, undoubtedly saving more lives.
I commend Mayor Buddy Dyer for his fast response to aid his citizens and thank the Governor of Florida for his immediate support. Thank you Governor Scott & President Barack Obama for your support.
I stand in solidarity with leaders from across the Great State of Florida as we mourn the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.
From Tallahassee to Orlando, our prayers and strength are with you.
Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition, FMCRC Chair Al Pina
We at FMCRC and all of Florida send our prayers to the victims of this horrendous act of hate and violence. To all members of the LGBT community, my Father God loves you, respects you and embraces you with the same love as he does all his children. When ever anybody uses God or Religion as an excuse to murder they are offending God. God Loves us all.
To the families of those murdered or injured, our prayers are with you and we dedicate these coming days to prayers that God may help you find peace in such a time of pain. To all Americans, as a veteran I support the right to bear arms but in no way should this include the right to purchase weapons of mass destruction such as the AK-47 that was used in this mass murder and so many others. It is time to outlaw such weapons and allow common sense to prevail. enough is enough….
May our Father God Embrace All In Orlando So They Can Find Comfort and Peace in this time of Pain.
Congressman David Jolly (FL-13)
This is our Paris. This is the week we mourn together. As one nation. This week we know no party, we know no prejudice. This is the week we all as Americans suffer loss together, come together, and resolve together that we will not fall to the architects of terror.
The mass shooting in Orlando is now one more defining moment of our time. One more defining moment of terror. And one more defining moment in the fabric of modern America. Innocent brothers and sisters were targeted by evil, in the name of a radical Islamic jihad against America that despicably perverts religion to justify taking the life of an innocent people. But this is the week we resolve to destroy terror forever, to destroy those who wish to destroy us.
In an election year, it’s natural for anger to divide us, to draw us into a partisan divide. But let’s rise above the politics of division and remain one united people. Let’s not fall prey this week to politicians casting blame, seeking credit, or drawing division. The debate over national security, over guns and the constitution, over surveillance, over crimes of hate, these debates will rightfully occur over the coming weeks and months. And they should.
We must defeat our enemies before they defeat us. We must protect our communities from violence of any kind, at the cause of any weapon. We must always vet those who come here legally and we must secure our borders. And we must ensure we apprehend homegrown agents of terror in all 50 states.
But we do this together as a nation. United, not divided. Committed to the cause of freedom envisioned by our founders and granted by our Creator. We are one people. We stand with the victims of Orlando. They will forever be in our hearts. And in their loss, we resolve to honor their memories with vigilance, with fidelity, to make our nation safer, stronger, and forever united against hate, against evil, and against our enemies.
May God bless the souls of our departed fellow Americans. May God hold close their families and loved ones. And may God forever protect our nation and forever preserve our freedom. – Congressman David Jolly (FL-13)
Todd Wilcox, candidate for U.S. Senate:
In the wake of yesterday’s massacre in my hometown of Orlando, the urge to make sense of something so senseless is all too common. The devastating fact is this: there are terrorists in this world who hide behind the twisted vale of radical Islamic ideology in pursuit of death and destruction. Because of this, today we mourn the loss of 50 lives that had value, 50 souls that had hope, promising young people with limitless futures. Because of this, today we pray for the recovery of those injured, those impacted and the families who’ve been forced to endure the unspeakable.
We are dealing with an enemy that places no value on life, an enemy that represents the absolute worst of humanity. Whether instructed by ISIS or merely inspired by their teachings, the result is just as horrific: the slaughter of 50 people on American soil in the name of radical Islamic ideology is an act of war. We as a nation must demand our leaders take this fight to the monsters whose mission it is to wipe us off the face of the earth. How many more tragedies should we endure; how many more lives should we mourn before this Administration gets serious about eliminating ISIS?
My heart aches for the parents who are grieving today. It is an unimaginable fate no parent should ever experience and I believe, we as a nation have a responsibility to take the necessary actions to bring an end to this terror. This is no longer happening on the other side of the world. This isn’t happening in a country whose name many couldn’t even pronounce. They have brought this war to America, to Florida, to Orlando. This is as real as it gets and it’s time President Obama and Congress fulfill their responsibility to protect the American people.
Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus
“Law enforcement officials have confirmed that at least 50 people were killed inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning. In addition to the 50 people who were killed, at least another 53 people were injured, making this horrific shooting the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history.
While the facts about the shooter and this incident continue to come in, The Campaign mourns the loss of life of so many innnocent people in Orlando and we extend our hand first to the LGBT community in Orlando, as well as all communities in Florida during this most difficult time. It is important for us all to ensure that the horrific shooting at the Pulse Night Club is not just viewed as another mass shooting in America. We honor the lives lost today with our unwavering commitment to protect Florida’s communities from gun violence.”
Dr. Jay Kaplan, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), issued the following statement:
“On behalf of the nation’s emergency physicians, I wish to express our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were murdered in Orlando this weekend. In addition, we extend our prayers for healing and recovery to the many injured who are still fighting for their lives. While the shock and grief from this horrific tragedy are still fresh, we are resolved to redouble our efforts at dealing with what has unfortunately become a regular occurrence in our nation.
“In January of this year, ACEP approved the creation of the multidisciplinary High Threat Emergency Casualty Care Task Force dedicated to understanding, tracking and responding most effectively to mass casualty incidents of this kind. Since the inception of the specialty, emergency physicians have been on the front lines in the prehospital environment and in our nation’s emergency departments, responding to incidents of violent mass casualty, such as this one. As a specialty, we will continue to lead and to collaborate with partners across the emergency response continuum, in efforts aimed at reducing potentially preventable deaths and disability due to these horrific attacks.
“ACEP’s High Threat Task Force will continue to leverage the extensive expertise of its membership as it works to improve responses to future violent incidents. Specifically, the ACEP Task Force will:
**“Work to develop a process by which we may more rapidly capture and disseminate critical lessons learned from incidents to the first response community across the US.
**“Collaborate with multidisciplinary researchers and public policy experts to develop a repository for data on wounding patterns and causes of death for victims of mass violence. ACEP and its partners will spearhead efforts to gather and analyze this data in order to create evidence-based response guidelines.
**“Coordinate efforts with our partners across the spectrum of violent mass casualty responders (Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement) and providers of trauma care to gather, analyze and validate best practices for prehospital and hospital-based response to such incidents, from bystander response to surgical care and emotional recovery.
“Advocate for resources to help our communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from similar violent incidents that have yet to occur. Information is power. At this moment when we feel powerless, we must focus on learning from this tragedy to improve our response in the future.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:
“Yesterday’s attack in Orlando was an act of terrifying hate toward our community. The shooter attacked an LGBT bar on Latinx night during Pride Month, brutally targeting innocent lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people of color and others who had gathered to socialize and celebrate. Our entire community and everyone who values human life is reeling from that unfathomable brutality. We are sickened by the loss of precious and irreplaceable lives. Our hearts ache for the families and friends of those murdered and the terrible devastation those losses will continue to bring in the day, months, and years ahead.
We can do nothing to bring back the lives of those murdered, but we can and must bring an end to the anti-LGBT bigotry and discrimination that are still rampant across this country and the world. In the past two years, cowardly and irresponsible politicians have proposed more than 200 anti-LGBT laws—including those passed this year in North Carolina and Mississippi. Make no mistake, these laws and the pandering of so many elected officials to those who promote anti-LGBT bias, foster a toxic climate. As we struggle to recover from this devastating attack, we must be clear: there is no place for hate in this country, and no excuse for any elected official to vilify vulnerable communities based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, national origin, religion, immigration status, or any other personal trait. We must be especially vigilant against anti-Muslim bias and shameful attempts to demonize Muslim communities. How we respond to this horrific attack will be a test of our nation’s character, witnessed on a global scale. As we reflect on and mourn these terrible losses, let us find the strength to transform our pain and grief into collective action and a deep, unshakeable resolve to hold ourselves and our elected officials accountable for building a world of equality, peace, and justice.”
The Florida League of Cities
“As an organization dedicated to Florida’s hometowns, the Florida League of Cities grieves with the entire Orlando community over the shocking events that unfolded yesterday. Our hearts cry for our neighbors who have suffered such a terrible loss in the most horrific way. All Floridians and Americans are united in sharing an overwhelming sense of sorrow, anguish, and compassion for the victims, the many injured, their families, and their friends.
“Florida’s municipal leaders have a deep understanding of the processes that lie at the heart of our democratic system of freedom and government. The League commends the City of Orlando for its response to this crisis, which undoubtedly saved lives during the incident and will help mend lives as the community works to move forward from the tragedy.
“We sincerely pray and hope that our country and citizens stay safe as we all rededicate our efforts to protect our country, our communities, and our way of life.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, chair of Everytown for Gun Safety
“We must not let another mass shooting motivated by hatred – and another terrorist attack on American soil – go unanswered. Great nations do not sit idly by and allow innocent citizens to be slaughtered. We are better than that, and we must demonstrate it, not with words, but with actions. As we grieve with all the families and loved ones of those killed and injured, and as we stand in support of LGBT communities everywhere, we must demand that our elected leaders support common sense solutions to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, including those suspected of having terrorist ties. No law can stop every attack – but as many states are showing, smart gun laws can and do save lives.”
Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera:
Over the weekend our state, and our nation, suffered a horrific tragedy at the hands of hateful and senseless terrorism. We never expect something like this to happen here, in our community, but it has, and we honor and remember the lives that were tragically cut short as we pray for them and their families.
I have been on the ground here in Orlando with Governor Scott yesterday and today, and the sense of community and love we are seeing is proof that we are a resilient people. The acts of selflessness in Orlando have been truly remarkable, from over 1500 in line to donate blood to volunteers handing out water. This community, state and country is showing the world that we refuse to be intimidated into changing our lives because of a cowardly act of evil.
The law enforcement officers in Orlando are true heroes, and their bravery must be commended. Their actions saved lives and Florida is indebted to them for their service.
This act of radical terrorism is a sober reminder that terrorists will not think twice about coming after the United States, and they can hit right here at home. We must work as a nation to completely and wholly eradicate ISIS and the evil they stand for. We as a nation must stand up to the radical terrorism that threatens our way of life, we as a nation must come together to have hope in a horrible time, and we as a nation must pray for Florida.
Pensacola, June 13 — An agent of a hateful ideology has torn the fabric of our lives together in this beautiful and welcoming state.
Orlando especially welcomes the world, and the world comes, and loves it. Sadly, a depraved but determined radicalized Islamic terrorist came too. We see his work.
As Floridians we feel a special bond to the victims of Sunday’s horrific and cowardly violence, and to their families. Our thoughts and our many prayers go to the victims, the survivors, their friends and their loved ones.
Government’s first responsibility is the protection of its citizens and territory. For seven and a half years, from Fort Hood to the Pulse nightclub, we have seen the failure of our federal government to understand, name, prevent or eliminate this growing threat. Political correctness has been more important. Those failures must stop, so that we are not regularly writing words of condolence to families who have lost loved ones to jihadism. Americans should never be sacrificed in service to a warped political preference.
We must identify and name the threat. We must commit ourselves to its elimination. Instead, under this administration, the term “radical jihadism” has been banned from our federal government. We have mis-described pre-meditated attacks as “workplace violence.” We have released Islamic radicals from Guantanamo, such that they have returned to the field of battle to make war on us again. We have consigned our security to a law-enforcement model, acting too much after the fact and not enough to prevent the attacks planned against us. Worst of all, the administration seems determined to close Camp Delta (Guantanamo), give our Navy base to the communists in Cuba, and put Islamist radicals into our regular prison populations. Obviously, it must be stopped.
The grieving and the loss are here. The funerals will come. The recoveries and the rehabilitation will come over a very long time. Between Saturday night and Sunday morning, American lives were either lost or changed for ever – all through one terrorist’s depravity. Unlike after Fort Hood, and San Bernardino, and the Boston Marathon attack, and all the rest, when the administration ignored all of the evidence it found inconvenient, this time, finally, will learning come, too?
For the families whose future losses we must prevent, I pray that it does.