ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida and national lawmakers have come out in support of Orlando and the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, which took place exactly one year ago Monday.
From Democratic Congressman Darren Soto (FL-9.) to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R), statements supporting the 49 people who were killed in an anti-LGBT terrorism attack that went down as the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history have been showing up.
“One year ago today, tragedy struck our state in the form of a cowardly act of hatred and violence," Bondi said in a news release. "Tragically, 49 innocent people were killed in the Pulse Nightclub attack, and 58 more were injured. Today, we honor the memory of those lost and the bravery of the citizens and first responders who ran toward the danger to help save lives. As we were assisting victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, I was inspired by the outpouring of support from the people of Orlando and around the world for the victims, their families and our entire LGBTQ community. Our state is still healing from this tragedy, and my office continues to help victims and families receive the services that are still needed, but we remain united in peace against hatred and terror.”
Bondi said that as of May 31, her division of victim services had handed out almost half of $1 million to victims of the attack for funeral expenses, counseling, medical assistance and more.
Scenes from outside Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2017, one year after the mass shooting that killed 49 people and injured more than 50 others.
Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and the chair of the LGBT Aging Task Force, said that Pride Month is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate together the progress the LGBT community has made.
“Pride Month is also a chance for us to remember the immense struggles, heartbreaking losses and countless tragedies experienced by this community in the fight for equality," Deutch said. "Accomplishments made by the LGBT community were not achieved easily. The LGBT community has suffered decades of intolerance, violence and repression. One year ago, dozens of innocent lives were taken in an act of anti-LGBT terrorism in the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history. Guilty of nothing more than celebrating who they are, 49 Pulse victims lost their lives, and more than 50 others were injured in a horrific act of gun violence."
Florida governor candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said that the Pulse attack must never be forgotten.
“One year ago, we were confronted with a horrifying tragedy that none of us were prepared for," he said. "Forty-nine people lost their lives too soon, and we will never fully replace them in our world. But we must honor them through our words and actions. We must honor them by lifting up their families and the Orlando community, and by taking action to address this national epidemic of gun violence that has plagued us for too long. Most of all, we must never forget Pulse, and we must love each other more deeply in the days and years to come.”
The Republican Party of Florida also sent out a statement Monday afternoon, addressing the mass shooting that injured 53 people.
“Today, we stand in solidarity with families, friends and surviving victims in remembering all who lost their lives to the heinous act of hatred on June 12, 2016, at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub,” RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said. “It is painful to remember the loss of 49 innocent victims at the hands of an evil ideology; however, we should also never forget the countless lives touched by this tragedy. The RPOF grieves alongside all who seek to honor the lives of those who perished, and joins the Orlando community in dedicating Orlando United Day."
Soto said that the country has a responsibility to do better when dealing with these issues and gun violence reforms.
"We have a moral obligation to take action to address gun violence in America," he said in a statement. "It is a fundamental responsibility of our government to protect its citizens. We cannot take away the anguish that so many in our community feel today, but there are real and sensible steps that we can take to spare future would-be victims of that same pain."
"It still shocks me to think that our city is the site of one of the deadliest mass shootings in US history," Soto also said. "The night of the shooting was supposed to be a safe space for gay Latinos to celebrate their identity and have fun together. My heart is with all of those who were touched by this cruel act of violence – and with those who have similarly been affected by this week’s shooting in Orange County. I believe in a Central Florida that embraces and celebrates our diversity. Our neighbors come from many different backgrounds and walks of life, and we are proud of it. This was an attack on our shared values."
President Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio tweeted Monday afternoon in honor of the victims and Orlando United Day.