Culture

Wands Were Raised At Universal Orlando Resorts In Memory Of Pulse Shooting Victim Luis Vielma

Credit: Attractions Magazine / YouTube

Luis Vielma got the most magical send off.

Luis Vielma, 22, was one of the 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. More than that, he was one of the people that made Harry Potter fans smile when they visited the Forbidden Journey ride at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resorts. On June 14, co-workers, guests and Universal Orlando Resorts employees gave Vielma a memorial send off fit for a true wizard. Just like what happens in the stories of Harry Potter, wands were raised near the Hogwarts castle as saddened friends remembered the young man that made countless Harry Potter fans so grateful. Since the the news broke of Vielma’s death on June 12, Harry Potter fans and those who worked on the stories have offered an outpour of condolences.

“Tonight we remember a team member, a brother, a son, a friend,” one woman told the crowd. “Tonight we remember someone that created a type of magic that we can never replace.”

Vielma, known as Luisito to his closest friends, was a student at Seminole State College to become an emergency medical technician. But on the day of the memorial at the amusement park, Vielma was remembered not as gay, Latino or even a student. Instead, he was revered as “one of the bravest and best Gryffindors the world has ever known.” After the raising of the wands, mourners gathered in a circle with wands laid in a circle and remembered their fallen comrade.

The very day that Vielma’s name was released as a victim, author J.K. Rowling took to Twitter in grief.

Credit: @jk_rowling / Twitter

As Albus Dumbledore said, “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”

You are very missed, Luis. R.I.P. young Gryffindor.

READ: He Survived The Shooting In Orlando And He Is Now Telling His Story

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A Family At Universal Studios Had Their Trip Ruined By A Character From ‘Despicable Me’ Who Flashed A White Power Symbol

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A Family At Universal Studios Had Their Trip Ruined By A Character From ‘Despicable Me’ Who Flashed A White Power Symbol

It is no secret that white supremacists and racists the world over have felt emboldened, and even justified in their hatred, in the past few years. This has a direct relationship with the rise of populist far-right parties and governments in developed countries like Austria, Norway, France and, yes, the United States. There are numerous offspring of the KKK and neo-Nazis who use trolling as a weapon and spread their message of hate more openly now than any other point in time after World War II. 

The vitriolic language used by politicians and other public figures (vete al carajo, Milo!) has found an echo in thousands of individuals, mostly dudes to be honest, who now openly use white supremacists and xenophobic rhetoric. Overt and hidden racist statements have spread like a wild fire and minorities worldwide feel more at risk than a few years ago. Claiming the right to free speech they are emboldened and they are potentially dangerous, as recent terrorist attacks and mass shooting perpetrated by white extremists have demonstrated. 

A black family discovered the OK white power símbolo de mierda when looking at their family pictures in Universal Studios, Orlando.

Credit: Family photo shared by Richard Zinger

This seems to be a perfectly normal family photo with the characters from the Despicable Me franchise, right? Well, it isn’t. As Tiffiney and Richard Zinger, the parents of this 7-year-old girl found out, the photo is a traumatic reminder of the collective tragedy historically suffered by African-Americans in the United States, from their forced migration as slaves to recent police brutality against communities of color. 

Notice the cursed 👌 symbol that Gru is doing.

Credit:Family photo shared by Richard Zinger 

The family was appalled to discover, months after their trip, this symbol of hate so close to their daughter, who is autistic. Universal Studios fired the despicable employee, but the damage has been done. The mother told The Daily Mail: “I’ve been emotionally distraught about it. I’m still pretty upset that someone felt they needed to do this to children. It can cause emotional stress on my child and her development”.

The park offered its apologies and all, but it seemed too little too late. A spokesman said: “We never want our guests to experience what this family did. This is not acceptable and we are sorry – and we are taking steps to make sure nothing like this happens again. We can’t discuss specifics about this incident, but we can confirm that the actor no longer works here. We remain in contact with the family and will work with them privately to make this right”.

We wonder how many more family photos worldwide feature the racist idiot ruining a happy moment in the vilest possible way. The family, it is important to clarify, is not seeking any financial compensation. 

The OK symbol is now officially related to hate speech according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). 

As BBC reported four days ago: “The finger-and-thumb gesture – which is also a popular emoji – is being used by some as a “sincere expression of white supremacy”, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL)”. The sign has been around since it became a popular joke in the online platform 4chan (the cesspool of the Internet), where people said that basically anything could have a secret meaning. It then became more serious when fellow extremists used it to recognize each other. 

Racism mutates, like a virus, and experts believe that extremist symbols are created constantly.

“Even as extremists continue to use symbols that may be years or decades old, they regularly create new symbols, memes and slogans to express their hateful sentiments,” said ADL boss Jonathan Greenblatt in an interview with BBC. As CNN reports, there is another hidden meaning in the OK symbol: “Why the “OK? sign? The general idea is that the looped and extended fingers resemble the letters W and P, standing for “white power””. 

Mass murderers have used the OK symbol as well.

This hijo de la chin… is accused of killing 51 people by shooting them in two mosques in New Zealand. The Australian national (whose name we won’t repeat because we don’t want to publicize his hateful crimes, which is what terrorists like him want) used the OK hand symbol when he was being photographed in court, flanked by police officers. 

And now even milk is a symbol of white supremacist pendejadas.

The seemingly innocent drink is now being used as a sign of white supremacy as well. The most logical explanation is that milk is pure white, like the racial wet dream of extremists. The other reason is that there is a myth, which has been debunked, that Western Europeans are the only ones who have the enzymes to process lactose. Seriously, WTF.

Cyntoia Brown Will Be Released From Prison Next Week And Supporters Have Already Started A GoFundMe

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Cyntoia Brown Will Be Released From Prison Next Week And Supporters Have Already Started A GoFundMe

@chrisemdin

After spending half of her life behind bars, Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison on August 7.

The 31-year-old was sentenced to life in prison in 2004, when she was 16 years old, for killing a 43-year-old man who solicited her for sex. At the time, she was a sex trafficking victim under a pimp named “Cut Throat.” While Brown was a minor, she was tried as an adult.

The case made national headlines last December when a Tennessee Supreme Court ruled she would have to serve 51 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

At the time, celebrities like Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West, Lebron James, and Cara Delevingne, among others, expressed their outrage on social media, with some advocating for her release and others funding legal support.

“Something his (sic) horribly wrong when the system enables these rapists and the victim is thrown away for life,” Rihanna captioned a post on Instagram in November 2017. 

Kardashian West, who shared the singer’s post on Twitter, added: “The system has failed. Its heartbreaking to see young girl sex trafficked then when she has the courage to fight back is jailed for life! We have to do better & do what’s right.”

In January, former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) granted her clemency following the mounting pressure.

At the time, Haslan called the sentence “too harsh,” especially considering the “extraordinary steps” Brown had “taken to rebuild her life” in prison.

Derri Smith, founder, and CEO of the nonprofit End Slavery Tennessee agreed.

“She is light years today, as a woman, different from the traumatized 16-year-old that she was,” he said in January, according to CNN. “She’s mentoring … troubled youth, working on her college degree, she is planning a nonprofit so she can help other young people.”

Brown earned her associate degree from Lipscomb University in 2015 and, as reported by The Tennessean, obtained a bachelor’s degree in the Tennessee Prison for Women in May. She’s also been working with the state’s juvenile justice system to help counsel young people at risk.

For many, Brown has been a “model inmate” throughout her incarceration. 

“I learned that my life was — and is — not over,” Brown said in a documentary, “Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story.” “I can create opportunities where I can actually help people.”

In 2004, a then-16-year-old Brown was living with a 24-year-old pimp named “Cut Throat,” a man who she said physically and emotionally abused her as well as forced her into sex work. According to court documents, on August 7 of that year, Nashville real estate agent Johnny Allen brought Brown to his home and paid her $150 in exchange for sex. While at his residence, Brown said that Allen showed her multiple guns in a cabinet. At one point, she alleges that the man reached under his bed, seemingly grabbing a firearm. Believing he was going to kill her, Brown said she took a gun out of her purse and fatally shot Allen.

Brown long claimed the killing was self-defense. However, the prosecution argued that the motive was robbery since Brown took Allen’s wallet after she shot him. She was convicted of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder and aggravated robbery.

The convictions carried two concurrent life sentences and eight additional years.

According to Refinery29, during Brown’s original trial, she was not allowed to testify. As such, she was unable to present evidence of her traumatic childhood history, including her time under the care of the state Department of Children’s Services, and her neurodevelopmental disorder. 

For her supporters, Brown, a survivor of sexual and physical violence, has been doubly wronged, first by men who assaulted her and again by a state who locked her up in an adult women’s prison for more than a decade instead of protecting her. Many have taken to social media to express their joy over Brown’s impending freedom.

“15 years too long for self-defense the whole world is waiting on your release August 7th you will be free,” wrote one Twitter user. “Freeing #CyntoiaBrown is the Greatest thing I’ve heard all Year!!! She never should’ve been Locked up in the first place,” added another.

Additionally, Brown’s representatives are raising money through a GoFundMe campaign to ensure an adequate start to her new life upon her release.

At the time of writing, the so-called second chance fund has raised nearly $16,000.

As part of the terms of her commuted sentence, Brown, who will be freed on Wednesday, will have to report to a parole officer regularly for the next decade. She is also required to stay employed, participate in counseling and perform community service with at-risk youth.

“With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people,” Brown said in a statement shortly after her sentence was commuted. “My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.”

Read: 5 Things To Know About Latina Girls And The Sexual Abuse-To-Prison Pipeline