Things That Matter

Four Years Later And The Grief Of The Pulse Nightclub Shooting Is Still Raw

On June 12, 2016, a terrorist entered Pulse Nightclub with an automatic rifle. The gunman killed 49 people as they danced and celebrated life with friends and family. Four years later, the community continues to mourn the tragic loss of life during Pride Month.

It has been four years since the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the pain is still there for many.

The attack was a devastating reminder of the brutality still plaguing the LGBTQ+ community. The global LGBTQ+ community collectively grieved over the shooting and the loss of life. It struck fear into the hearts of LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones. It has been four years and that pain and fear still exist as the community continues to find ways forward.

The immediate action from the LGBTQ+ community was to join the growing battle against gun violence in the U.S.

“I remember dancing. I remember Juan’s goofy laugh. Drew’s long, gangly arm around my should as he said, ‘I wish we said I love you more.’ I remember we accidentally wore matching outfits and before I knew it it was 2 a.m.,” Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor said to Congress in 2019. “I can remember cold water from the faucet, a plastic cup teetering on the edge of the sink. I remember gunshots. Confusion. The rancid stench of blood and smoke. I remember the hair standing up on the back of my neck; my heart pounding as I crouched on the bathroom floor. I remember the face of terror on the faces of those people trapped in there with me; a panicked sprint to an open door. And I swear I can still hear every one of the 110 rounds that man pumped into the club.”

Wolf continues by talking about the confusion and desperation after as he tried to find his friends. How he had to call Juan’s family to let them know that he was dead. He talks about seeing his two best friends in caskets as a final reminder of the horrible nightmare he was living. Wolf then takes aim at the public health epidemic of gun violence that is devastated the country.

The Pulse survivor further called out President Donald Trump for emboldening this hate in America. Rather than unite the country to go together, Wolf argues that Trump has allowed for this kind of hate to go unimpeded and the ready access to guns has made this hate deadly.

People are sharing their stories and heartbreak on social media remembering the shooting.

Pulse Nightclub was an institution in Orlando for the LGBTQ+ community. Famous drag queens like Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Ginger Minj who live in Orlando have performed there. They have spoken of their own experience of hearing the news and trying to find out if their friends are okay.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is calling for greater protection for LGBTQ+ people.

“Four years ago, as members of the LGBTQ+ community were gathered together for Latin Night at Pulse nightclub during Pride Month, a terrorist armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire,” reads a statement from Biden. “He killed 49 innocent people and injured many more — at the time, the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman. And still today, it remains the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ+ community in American history.”

“The inaction of Republican lawmakers to address the scourge of gun violence in America is unacceptable,” Biden wrote. “As President, I will continue standing with you to build a more equal, more inclusive United States, where every member of the LGBTQ+ community is safe and respected.”

The Pulse shooting is a reminder every Pride Month of the battle the LGBTQ+ community still fights.

Hate took 49 people away from their friends and families. It was and continues to be a hard moment for the LGBTQ+ community, especially the Latino LGBTQ+ community.

Continue to rest easy, angels.

Your lives will never be forgotten. We love you. We miss you. We will continue to fight for a world safe and free fro LGBTQ+ people.

READ: Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

Fierce

Emma González Is In A New Documentary About Gun Control Called ‘Us Kids’

ANGELA WEISS / Getty

Two years ago in 2018, American activist Emma Gonzalez marked the headline of every news organization. As a victim of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida, Gonzalez garnered national attention on February 17, 2018, after giving an 11-minute speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In the days, weeks, months, and years since delivering her speech, Gonzalez has made waves with her activism.

Now, the activist who is now in college is the star of a documentary directed by Kim A. Snyder called Us Kids.

Us Kids, which received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this past January is available to be screened on the Alamo Drafthouse virtual screening platform.

Us Kids is available to be screen on Alamo on Demand on October 30.

The film follows the stories of the students behind Never Again MSD. The student-led organization is a group advocating for regulations that work to prevent gun violence and includes Latino activists like Emma González and Samantha Fuentes. Both teens are survivors of the shooting that took place Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florid where 17 students and staff members were killed by a gunman.

In a review about the film, Variety writes that it “primarily celebrates that resilient, focused energy from teenagers who proved perhaps surprisingly articulate as well as passionate in thrusting themselves into a politicized spotlight. It’s more interested in their personalities and personal experiences than in the specific political issues wrestled with. Like ‘Newtown,’ this sometimes results in a repetitious directorial expression of empathy, particularly in the realm of inspirational montages set to pop music. Still, the subjects are duly admirable for their poise and intelligence as Snyder’s camera follows them over 18 months, in which they go from being “normal-ass kids doing normal-ass things” to a high-profile movement’s leading spokespeople.”

The trailer for the documentary was released on Oct. 22 and introduces the survivors of the shooting.

Fuentes, who was an 18-year-old senior at the time of the shooting, speaks about her experience recalling that “I was thinking about how we were going to get out if he was going to come back, was I going to die.”

“As compelling as Hogg and González are (and as touching as their friendship is — they’re each other’s biggest boosters), it might’ve been nice if ‘Us Kids’ had itself strayed farther from the mainstream media narrative in emphasizing less-familiar faces. Considerable screen time is dedicated to Samantha Fuentes, who was hit by bullets but lived while close friend Nick Dworet died next to her,” Variety explains. “She provides a relatable perspective in being occasionally less-than-composed in the public glare (we see her upchuck at the podium a couple times). Still, there are peers frequently glimpsed in the background who never seem to get a word in, while Snyder keeps the established, semi-reluctant ‘stars’ front and center.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Gloria Estefan Shares Her ‘Shocking’ Reaction To Her Daughter Coming Out

Fierce

Gloria Estefan Shares Her ‘Shocking’ Reaction To Her Daughter Coming Out

David M. Benett / Getty

The Estefans’ Red Table Talk is officially here and queer!

So get used to it!

The beloved Cuban singer and her family hosted their second episode of the Facebook Watch series Red Table Talk: The Estefans. Things got real real as she, her daughter Emily Estefan and niece Lili Estefan sat down for a raw and honest conversation about their lives and relationships.

In the second episode of ‘Red Table Talk: The Estefans‘ titled, “Emily’s Coming Out Story,” the family revealed that Gloria was shocked to learn that her “miracle baby” was queer.

https://www.facebook.com/v2.10/plugins/video.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Df31b6878fcd7998%26domain%3Dew.com%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Few.com%252Ff3787cf9dcf9c5%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=640&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwatch%2F%3Fv%3D977060166137734&locale=en_US&sdk=joey

Speaking frankly, Gloria explained that her initial reaction to her daughter’s coming out was to dissuade her from telling her grandmother the truth. According to Gloria, she feared that her own mother would die from the news about Emily.

“I came out to my parents like in 2017. But as you’ll see on the show, I think they knew way before that,” Emily, who is 25-years-old Entertainment Weekly in an interview. “What I’m most excited about in this episode is the complexity of it all. I wouldn’t be doing anybody justice if I went up there and lied and said that it was easy or that there weren’t complex emotions involved, even though my mom has been such a fierce supporter of the LGBTQ community. Everybody has a perspective. And as human beings, we’re always trying to be understood instead of understanding. As you’ll see in the clip, it was difficult for me to hear that. No matter under any perspective, those words were difficult to hear.”

Sadly, Emily never had the chance to share this part of her identity with her grandmother, Gloria Fajardo.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGOWijzBSHQ/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=1200&rd=https%3A%2F%2Few.com&rp=%2Ftv%2Fgloria-estefan-reaction-daughter-emily-coming-out-red-table-talk%2F#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A1772.594999987632%7D

Fajardo passed away in 2017 before Emily had the chance to come out to her. It is unknown whether she knew of her sexual orientation before she passed away.

“That is one of my biggest unanswered questions that I will live the rest of my life with,” Emily explained “Many of the people around me that love me have told me they knew. But in my heart, my grandmother and I were so close but I’m really not sure. But that’s part of life too — you don’t get every answer that you want. I’m also learning that regrets are a waste of time. But I’m still on that journey. A few years ago, I would’ve never imagined that we’d be talking about this as I’m about to release an episode where I say things I’ve not even told family members of mine. I’m still growing and learning.”

In the latest episode of the Red Table Talk, Gloria explains that Emily became known as her “miracle baby” after she was conceived following a devastating tour bus accident in 1990.

At the time, Estefan’s doctors told her she would not be able to concieve more children. At the time, Gloria and her husband, Emilio Estefan, already had their son, Nayib Estefan. Nayib is 15 years older than his sister Emily.

In the latest interview, Emily talks about the pressures of having to live up to the concept of a “perfect daughter” that had been projected onto her by media outlets. She also addresses how she became the target of tabloid fodder in Spanish-language media after her relationship with Gemeny Hernandez was revealed.

“My parents would tell me all the time that we all have to earn respect, which I totally understand and fully agree with,” Emily explained of her experiences growing up in the spotlight. “Life is difficult and you don’t know what people’s intentions are all the time. When my dad started dating my mom, my grandma would slam the door in his face! My parents never exhibited anything extreme like that when it came to my relationships, but they would remind me what their courtship was like. I would let them know that we’re going through similar things, but in different colors. Life is about repetition and trying to pick up new things along the way. My grandma came from a time where she didn’t go on a date with my grandpa until they had their marriage certificate, and even then her mom was chaperoning them. They didn’t kiss until they were married.”

Emily revealed that she and her girlfriend Gemeny have been together for almost four years now and that she has been welcomed as part of the Estefan family.

“Family dynamics are hard, no matter what,” Emily went onto share. “Gem is one of those people who is like a mirror: She came into my life and showed me my truth. Sometimes that’s not beautiful, but that’s what love is. It’s not beauty or dates or romance all the time, but all of the things that come with love. I’m really young, but I feel that having her by my side has made me truly understand what a loving, adult relationship is like. That’s why it’s been so easy for me to fight this fight and speak my truth, because it’s all worth it. She helped me be brave. Now she has a relationship with my family which is the incredible part and can maybe be explored in season 2? Having her come to sit at the table and talk about those dynamics. Everybody loves each other, but as I said, love isn’t easy. And you know what it’s like being a part of a Latino family. The baby starts dating somebody, even if it’s Mickey Mouse, they still wouldn’t think he’s good enough!”

The second episode of the Estefan’s Red Table Talk, “Emily’s Coming Out Story,” debuted this past Wednesday, Oct. 14, at noon ET on Facebook Watch.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com