Priscilla Olivas, 19, of Las Vegas, NV, lights up a candle at a street vigil that was held for the victims along the Las Vegas Strip a day after 59 people were killed and more than 500 wounded at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival on Monday, October 2, 2017, in Las Vegas, NV.
Salwan Georges—The Washington Post/Getty Images
By Ricardo J. Negron-Almodovar
October 4, 2017
IDEAS

Negron-Almodovar is a survivor of the Pulse nightclub tragedy who works to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community in Central Florida.


Dear Las Vegas,

You now belong to a club where membership is unwanted. The eyes of the world are upon you, but not because of your shining spectacles of lights and entertainment; no, the reason is far too bleak. Your sister cities, fellow members of the unsolicited club, know what you are going through. We see you. We feel for you. We are here for you.

Many will come to your aid in this desperate time of need. You will experience insurmountable amounts of love and strength to push on. Many will also come for the show, and once deadlines are met and assignments completed, they will go on to the next story.

But for you, this is not a scene that ends when the cameras roll out. Building community will be the key to your healing process.

Debates will ignite. Theories will be rebutted. Division will come to make its claim. But you mustn’t waiver. You are tougher than this and you have to focus — right now — on providing ways so that those who have been directly affected find their road to recovery. You will be overwhelmed, but please be patient. So many needs will arise, and not everyone will be ready to deal with their own personal situations at once, which is why there must be a system in place not only to address the initial situation but also for the long run. It is imperative that no one falls through the cracks in these moments of hardship that have now become far too common.

Barely over a year ago, the Orlando community suffered from the worst crime in American history against the LGBTQ+ and Latinx community. We suffered, yes. But we also organized, and we let the world know that united we were stronger. We will join you through the darkness, and we will stand with you all the way.

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