On June 12th, OUTMemphis held space for remembering those taken from us in 2016 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL. Forty-Nine community members were killed in the massacre, and OUTMemphis pledges to remember and #HonorThemWithAction. The vigil we held on June 12th was one part of this, but we strive to remember all year round that Hate Will Not Win.
We Are Here, and we will not let those with hate in their hearts remove that. Below is a tribute to the 49 people killed in this tragedy, and a prayer from Havier Perilla, a local Latinx spiritual counselor. English Translation is below:
“Today, remembering the massacre of Orlando and our murdered friends, seeing that reality and feeling the pain of many who are violated and rejected today, seeing how hatred takes over the world, I want to confess something, I want to confess that I do not believe in God …
Yes, I do not believe in a god that justifies violence against his creation; I can not believe in a god that becomes exclusive of a religion or a church, I do not believe in that god that becomes a monopoly of a race, a culture or a country and with it pretends to end the other out of hatred, not I believe a god that allows his followers to bullfight, bully, even physically, morally or psychologically kill his brothers; I do not believe in that god who condemns matter and does not let us be, does not let us sin, make mistakes; I do not believe in a god who loves pain and believes that it will improve our lives; I do not believe in a god who puts a red light on human joys; I do not believe in the god who plays to condemn; it is not possible to believe in the god unable to forgive what many men condemn; I do not believe in the God who demands man to believe, to renounce being; I do not believe in the god who is worshiped by those who go to a cult and keep giving it to others; I do not believe in the god who condemns sexuality; I do not believe in God that it is only hope for the future life; I do not believe in the god of those who believe that they love God because they do not love anyone; I can not believe in the tyrant god, who leaves women in a second place, a racist god and less in a homophobic god; I can not believe in the god who lacks forgiveness for some sin; I do not believe in the God who puts the law above the conscience; I do not believe in the God who prefers purity to love; I can not believe in a God in whom I can not hope against all hope.
I firmly believe in a God who is close and who lets himself be touched, I believe in a passionate God for us, I believe in a God who with his living presence in each one of our brothers makes us more human; I believe in a God who called us to rebuild the world, in one that leads us to restore hope to his people; I believe in a God that brings us to take away the weight of the rejection of many and the crosses that men have imposed on their brothers, only because they do not understand that they love differently; I believe in a God who gives back life and happiness to humanity, because he knows with our defects we serve him and we love him; I believe in a God that takes us to every corner of the world to look for his children and makes us see ourselves as equals … I believe in a God … eternally loving with his children, with this it is clear that my God is another God, is the one who love and make us one with Him.
I ask that God to remind our brothers this night we are able to understand our mission in this world, which leads us to assume our reality and see life as a challenge to make the world better, to have a better understanding of reality and the existence of the other; to give us enough strength to continue fighting for freedom and not have to live hiding and denying our being and feeling, as some want; tonight I ask that God who created us all equal open understanding to those who close their minds and hearts and enact laws, make decrees, that generate hatreds to change their way of seeing the world.
I ask God that we who have lived all this make us part of the solution and not only see quiet and deaf ears of what happens around us, because our silence makes us accomplices of all the damage that is generated by these hatreds , we have seen how many young people commit suicide, escape; how do we lose valuable lives while we have preferred to continue with our lives not letting ourselves be touched by the pain of the other, if we do not support each other? So who is going to help us? Who knows the pain of our community if it is not us? Who knows our anguish when we have to hide? Who knows better about our sorrows or depressions if not us? Who can feel what we have felt each time they rejected us? Why wait for help to come from afar? We have a responsibility today with our youth and friends; I ask God today to touch our hearts to make us part of the solution, I ask God to open your ears so that you listen and be an advisor to others, I ask God to take this in your hands so that you lift up the one who has fallen, I ask God for this in your heart to love without reservation and to support everyone without discriminating against anyone.
I ask God for our lives to bear fruit and be remembered as the generation that started the change … to change the hatred for love … let’s fight together for that!”