(This post was originally published on the Venacian website and has been reprinted here with permission.)
Everything is connected. The growing conditions in Washington enabled you to buy a delicious apple, and keeping yourself healthy ensures that you live a long life so that you can tell your grandchildren how proud you were to see the election of the first black president of America. Those children grow up to demand the inclusion of minority voices in every area of their lives, and one day you look around your dinner table and are surprised (and delighted) to see a diversity of loving faces. The sun shines on another apple. Everything is connected.
By now, you will have heard of the sickening tragedy which occurred in the Pulse nightclub, where one hundred and three of our LGBTQ siblings were killed and injured as an act of hate. You will have heard the name of their murderer, one which we will not give dignity to by speaking here. Instead, we will be mindful of the one hundred and three victims of that night… Edward Sotomayor Jr., Stanley Almodovar III, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Luis S. Vielma, Kimberly Morris, Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, Darryl Roman Burt II, Deonka Deidra Drayton, Alejandro Barrios Martinez, Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, Amanda Alvear, Martin Benitez Torres, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Enrique L. Rios Jr, and many others yet to be named.
Look at those names. Let them seep into your skin and become a part of you. These were your neighbors, your lovers, the guy who loaned you his notes during class, the girl who laughed at your joke in the checkout line. They were our family. Our siblings have been stolen from us, not because of any crime they committed, not because of a twisted interpretation of a God’s desires…
Our siblings died for a kiss.
Witnessing an act of love between two men, a simple thing which we so often take for granted as a basic sign of affection, spurred one madman to irreparably destroy countless lives and unravel all that we thought we had accomplished in this country.
Because we are all connected, we know that this did not begin and end with a murderer. This was the result of innumerable choices and behaviors which have been occurring in this country for far too long. This is the result of our failures.
We have failed our siblings when they are beaten in their schools for daring to love. We have failed our siblings when we question whether they are fit to love the children others have abandoned. We have failed our siblings when we let others tell them they are not “real” men and women and exclude them from our events. We have failed our siblings when we care more about the bathroom they’re in than demanding employers treat them fairly. We thought the fight was over with the right to marry…we were horribly wrong.
We are all connected, and we can no longer afford to pretend that their struggles are not our struggles. The cost is simply too great.
Because we have been saddened to see people speaking of “abominations” and “sins” when they should have been offering love, we will begin one hundred and three days of prayer to deities that recognize life as sacred and embrace homosexuality as one more glorious type of love to be celebrated.
Prayer to Dike for Justice
Prayer to Dike that Justice Be Done
Wise and watchful Dike, daughter of thundering Zeus
and Themis in whom order resides, goddess
never forgotten, we know you now as Justice,
sword and scales in hand. Before the court you stand
in silence, keeper of truth, champion of the right,
upholder of integrity; you reward the honest man
and punish the wrong-doer, the wicked and the false.
Blessed Dike, the court is your temple
and to you do I offer my prayers for justice.
Grant to all concerned your honorable spirit,
O goddess; may all words spoken under oath
be whole and true. May all those who hold mastery
and might be of good intent, may they be fair-minded,
may they deem reason and righteousness to be
most grave and weighty matters. Dike who knows
the guiltless from the errant, I pray to you.
(This prayer was found on Underflow)