These were my remarks at the West Orange Vigil in solidarity with those in Orlando. (6/16/16)
We are gathered here tonight because we can be nowhere else.
What happened this weekend is unspeakable.
And yet, we must speak.
What happened this weekend makes us wonder, “What can we do?”
And yet, we must do something.
What happened this weekend in Orlando is horrific. And yet, we know that such things have happened before, that hate has reared its head in so many places on our globe. It seeks out the different, the “other,” the unfamiliar, the vulnerable. It hides in ‘us vs. them’ talk, in feelings of superiority, in mobs. Hate can seem so powerful, and so pervasive.
And that is why we are gathered here. To make a stand with our brothers and sisters,
be they gay or straight or transgender,
be they white or brown, or black or any other color of the rainbow,
be they Jewish or Christian or Muslim or practice another faith or even no faith at all.
We are here to stand stong.
We are here to stand proud.
We are here to declare that though the war with hatred is not yet over—together, we will win.
We will win because Love is greater than Hate.
We will win because deep down we know we are in the right.
We will win because we stand on the shoulders of generations upon generations upon generations of those who have fought—at Stonewall, and Selma, and Seneca Falls as our President, Barak Obama reminded us 2 years ago.
But know this. We need to take strength from one another tonight—for the days ahead.
For we will need to speak even when it is hard;
we will need to act, even when it is scary;
we will need to hold onto the vision of our country,
of our world, at its best.
And so, I ask you to touch your lips
May they speak on behalf of those who can no longer speak
I ask you to touch your heart
May it burn with a passion for right in this world
I ask you to extend your hands
May they be ever open in Love.