This week marks the one-year anniversary of the massacre of 49 members of the lgbtq community in Orlando at the Pulse night club.
We all remember and will stand with the people of Orlando who refuse to allow this tragedy to disrupt their ongoing belief, expressed again this week in their mantra, We Will Not Let Hate Win.
The little girl in the picture looks up hopefully to the flag from the March on Washington in 1993. Forty years after that picture was taken, she carried a flag similar to this one preserved by Dick Hubbard who marched with Freddie Mullis and a large contingent of South Carolinians alongside her. It was a defining moment for all who stood tall for equality that weekend and returned home to begin the work of changing the political landscape of their state.
There were no casualties during that protest, but there have been many since then… the Pulse shootings among the most notorious.
I keep pictures of the little girl I was in my new office at Casita de Cardinal – originally because I thought they went well with Pretty’s juvenile book collection she brought with her in the move. I asked for that bookcase to be placed in my direct vision on the wall across from my desk. The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew were favorite sleuths of mine in my childhood so they create a wonderful atmosphere for my new work space.
Now, however, I think the pictures are important on many levels. They are vivid reminders of a time and place where questioning, longings and determination to pursue the whole earth as my territory, as my daddy promised me, led me to become the woman who marched in Washington in 1993.
Today during the anniversary week of the Orlando tragedy we understand we’ve come too far to turn back, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous quote became the poster for the 1993 march. For the survivors of the Pulse nightmare, the families of those we lost who continue to mourn, and for those who would limit our pursuit of happiness, his words of wisdom continue to be relevant in our ongoing adversities:
“Our freedom was not won a century ago, it is not won today, but some small part of it is in our hands, and we are marching no longer by ones and twos but in legions of thousands, convinced now it cannot be denied by human force.”
We will not let hate win.