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What gives me hope

One year ago today, 49 innocent people were shot to death in a senseless act of violence targeting a nightclub where young, gay, Latino Americans gathered. The gunman shook the LGBTQ community – and all Americans – to our core during Pride month, in what was the worst mass shooting in American history. A mass shooting that was motivated by hate. Since the election, we've seen different communities targeted with hate speech and violence. We've seen children living in fear and parents wondering if they can protect their kids.

What gives me hope? All of the people who are standing up for their neighbors and speaking out against hate. In these critical times, we all must follow the example of so many who have fought before us. We must speak up when we witness an injustice. Silence is not an option. Action is the best way to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Just a few weeks ago, two brave Oregonians lost their lives trying to stop a white supremacist’s anti-Muslim and racist assault.

My heart grieves for the families and friends of victims of these hate crimes. The continued hatred and violence in our communities must stop.

New York Times columnist and Oregonian Nicholas Kristof recently wrote, *“In tragedy, we can sometimes find inspiration. In that train car, we saw that courage and leadership are alive — if not always in Washington, then among ordinary Americans converging from varied backgrounds on a commuter train, standing together against a threat to our shared humanity.” *

Although some are experiencing increased threats for the first time, far too many in our communities know this reality. I’ll continue to be a voice for a country built on diversity, equality, and acceptance – not hate and fear.

Posted on June 12, 2017.