Pulse, Orlando Massacre, Toronto Responds with Love
Candlelight vigil at Barbara Hall Park – Sunday June 12, 2016
Toronto responds to violence with love
Kathleen Wynne, Premier Ontario
There are no words we have to say to one another.The most important thing is that we be together. There are people standing here who have been traumatised because of what has happened, what we have lived through The only way we can combat this is by loving one another. Homophobia cannot be fought with homophobia. The more we have each other the better off we will be. What happened in Orlando happened to all of us, and we have to recognise that.
Rob Oliphant, Member of Parliament, Don Valley West
Today as the news unfolded. I was taken back to when I was 20 years old. I went into the St Charles Tavern on Yonge Street,and I want to tell you, that first experience….I went In the back door. not the front door. That place, that night. was a place of safety. It was a place of community. It was a place where I could be myself. It was a place where I was hoping to find romance and didn’t. It was a place where I knew I would be able to be myself.
“Last night. people In Orlando did not have that experience. They went to a place that was meant to be a safe place.A place of fun and Joy. A place of encouragement and gathering of a community together on a Saturday night. And It ended In violence as the result of a hateful and terrorist act.
While I heard the news and the numbers of those fatalities kept growing._ I had two impulses.First was to reach out to my gay and lesbian friends and seek solidarity with people who know what it’s like to experience homophobia . Who know what It’s like to experience a world that is not always friendly.
“But my second response was to reach out to my Muslim brothers and sisters to say: Hate has to be met with love. Hate has to be met with generosity and inclusion, because we know better than anyone else that it is by love that we are saved.
John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
How proud can we be to be in a place where we can respond in this way quickly to some thing like this so horrific? But the more important message going out from here today – and I hope it goes all the way to Orlando tonight – that it is not just the LGBT community but across the United States that this kind of hate-filled act…must not be [blamed on] any particular faith or any particular group
Kristyn Wong-Tam, City Councillor , Ward 22
My heart is so heavy. And I know yours Is. too. We have lost so many people through the years to hatred,to homophobia. to trans phobia, whether it is schoolyard bullying or parents who just did not understand us , we always knew we could come together.
Our social miracle in Toronto can never be taken for granted. We speak hundreds of languages and worship many gods in relative harmony.
The voices of Toronto’s LGBT community have always shown the way. Whether It’s the bathhouse raids or around the violence we have experienced. We have always, always come together.We can never think that what happened In Orlando cannot happen here.
This is Farrah Khan. Farrah is my queer Muslim fiancee.When people hate queers.they hate us.When people hate Muslims. they hate us.We have so much in common with the communities that are marginalised and vulnerable and misunderstood.
We can never be·bystanders. When we see something,we will speak up. We will take action. We will never ever be silent or silenced.
El Farouk Khaki, activist, queer lawyer
On the internet, hate has been coming out. So what a joy when I come here and see us. Brown lives and Black lives and Muslim lives also died. They died in Orlando and around the world. And queer lives continue to die. East or to the west, no matter where you look, there Is the face of God.
So I stand with you, as your brother. As your slbling in humanity. And I am given hope by the joy and by the unity, the celebration of our dlfferences and our diversity. When every other speaker before me spoke, and they spoke against lslamophobia and hate toward Muslims,the loudest cheers rang up here, and my heart was just filled with love