We spoke with a survivor, a Florida representative, and a psychologist about the needs of those who are alive to tell about that horrific night in Orlando.
Five years after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, survivors and the family of victims are still dealing with the aftermath left by then the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in US history. The tragedy still is the deadliest attack against LGBTQ people in the country’s history.
Every Saturday, Pulse celebrated Latin Night. That is why it had become for Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and anyone who appreciates Latino culture a safe, joyful place where they could celebrate their identity.
For that reason, many of the 49 people killed by Omar Mateen were Latino. Twenty-three of them were Puerto Ricans.
Ricardo Negrón Almodóvar, a survivor of the attack, arrived in Florida looking for a better life a year before the tragedy.
Now he says that he deals with the emotions of trauma on a day-to-day basis. However, the experience led him to found the nonprofit organization Del Ambiente to help the LGBTQ community.
Florida Rep. Carlos G. Smith is one of the community’s main allies, and year after year he has proposed a bill on gun safety that would ban assault-style rifles and large-capacity magazines.
“Florida will have more mass shootings if we don’t take action to prohibit weapons of war and other common-sense measures to protect our communities from gun violence,” Smith said.
The representative also condemned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent decision to veto two support programs for the LGBTQ community, which include mental health aid.
Puerto Rican clinical psychologist Wilfred Labiosa is a witness to how much the survivors and their families still need help, as he still assists some of them in Waves Ahead, a nonprofit organization in Puerto Rico.
“Although the governor said that he will not continue giving funds, the important thing is that the survivors and their families know that we have organizations like [Waves Ahead] here in Puerto Rico and there in Florida, that we are here to support them,” Labiosa told Floricua.