LATINO VOICES
06/15/2016 04:31 pm ET Updated Jun 16, 2016

LGBTQ Latinxs And Allies Share Heartfelt Messages In Honor Of Orlando Shooting Victims

"We love you, keep fighting y sigue bailando."

Edward Sotomayor Jr., Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz...

These names, along with many others that belong to the 49 victims killed in Orlando at Pulse on Sunday, all seem to have at least one thing in common: Latino heritage. After all, it was "Latin night" at the nightclub the evening of the massacre.

And some in the Latino community, including "My So-Called Life" alum Wilson Cruz, have asked that the media not forget that this tragedy was, in many ways, "a direct attack on LGBT Latinos" and it should be reported as such. 

“Naming those names and where they’re from and the struggle that they were living daily as LGBT Latinos is part of the story and not naming it, to me, feels like erasing a large part of who they are and their experience," Cruz, who lost a family member in the shooting, told The Huffington Post. "Let’s not whitewash their experience, it’s multi-faceted.”

With that in mind, we visited the memorial at Stonewall in New York City's West Village and asked LGBTQ Latinxs and their allies to write a message in honor of the lives lost in Orlando. Here's what they had to say: 

  • Dominican Rebecca Hidalgo sent a special message of the Latinx LGBTQ community: "We love you, keep fighting and keep dancing.
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Dominican Rebecca Hidalgo sent a special message of the Latinx LGBTQ community: "We love you, keep fighting and keep dancing."
  • Ecuadorian Aiden Mora, who is openly trans, cited the poem, "Litanies to My Heavenly Brown Body" by Mark Aguhar.
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Ecuadorian Aiden Mora, who is openly trans, cited the poem, "Litanies to My Heavenly Brown Body" by Mark Aguhar.
  • Puerto Rican Alfredo Nieto wrote a touching message to the victims. 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Puerto Rican Alfredo Nieto wrote a touching message to the victims. 
  • Tributes to the victims at the Stonewall memorial. 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Tributes to the victims at the Stonewall memorial. 
  • Alfonsa Coyotl, of Mexico, writes: "My deepest condolences to all the families of the victims. It's an unexpected pain for al
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Alfonsa Coyotl, of Mexico, writes: "My deepest condolences to all the families of the victims. It's an unexpected pain for all of us. 'Keep your head up' Orlando."  
  • Colombian-American José L. Orozco wrote: "In a moment of pain, we have to stay together. Stay strong, Orlando."
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Colombian-American José L. Orozco wrote: "In a moment of pain, we have to stay together. Stay strong, Orlando."
  • Colombian Theresa Velasquez wrote: "God. Homeland. Liberty. Love." in Spanish.
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Colombian Theresa Velasquez wrote: "God. Homeland. Liberty. Love." in Spanish.
  • New Jersey native Nelson Morales Jr. hopes this tragedy will be a "wake-up call."
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    New Jersey native Nelson Morales Jr. hopes this tragedy will be a "wake-up call."
  • Tributes to the victims at the Stonewall memorial. 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Tributes to the victims at the Stonewall memorial. 
  • Peruvian-American Jay Miguel Reist wrote his message in Spanglish: "I'm afraid of their fear. But silence is death. Remember
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Peruvian-American Jay Miguel Reist wrote his message in Spanglish: "I'm afraid of their fear. But silence is death. Remember their names." 
  • Cuban James "Torr" Carter sent a message about love.
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Cuban James "Torr" Carter sent a message about love.
  • Puerto Rican Gabrielle M. Serrano sent a message of solidarity. 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Puerto Rican Gabrielle M. Serrano sent a message of solidarity. 
  • Puerto Rican Alejandro Cruz wrote his message in Spanish: "Dedicated to those who passed. Long live love. Puerto Rico" 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Puerto Rican Alejandro Cruz wrote his message in Spanish: "Dedicated to those who passed. Long live love. Puerto Rico" 
  • A Puerto Rican flag and tributes and to the victims at the Stonewall memorial.
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    A Puerto Rican flag and tributes and to the victims at the Stonewall memorial.
  • Puerto Rican Celeste Perez, who is openly lesbian, wrote a message to her community and the world. 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Puerto Rican Celeste Perez, who is openly lesbian, wrote a message to her community and the world. 
  • Brazilian Alex Liandro wrote his message against hate at the Stonewall vigil.
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Brazilian Alex Liandro wrote his message against hate at the Stonewall vigil.
  • Tributes to the victims at the Stonewall memorial. 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Tributes to the victims at the Stonewall memorial. 
  • Colombian Diego Velazquez, who is openly gay, wrote in Spanish: "No More Hate! We are all human beings. We have fee
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Colombian Diego Velazquez, who is openly gay, wrote in Spanish: "No More Hate! We are all human beings. We have feelings. Behind each of us there are dreams, goals, family and love. #LoveWins"
  • Puerto Rican Steve Matos closed his message with "God Bless You."
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Puerto Rican Steve Matos closed his message with "God Bless You."
  • Wendy and Zoë Levine, whose mother was Latina, sent a message of love. 
    Gabriela Landazuri Saltos/Huffington Post
    Wendy and Zoë Levine, whose mother was Latina, sent a message of love. 

In his interview with HuffPost, Cruz also had a message of his own for any young LGBTQ Latinxs who are afraid to be who they are because of the tragedy:

I don’t know that there is anything that I could say that is going to take the pain away but I can tell you this: I hope they find some refuge and some comfort in knowing that they are members of a long line of LGBT Latino people that have fought their entire lives, generation after generation, for our right to live the lives that we live now... And while the pain that they feel right now and the fear that they feel right now is very real, their responsibility is to feel it, to understand it, to never forget it but to use it so that the young people who come after them won’t have to deal with fear in the same way. Because that’s what people did for them, and that’s what people did for me.

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