Friday, June 13, 2016
The Maine Green Independent Party released the following statement today in response to yesterday's Orlando, Florida shootings:
We in the Maine Green Independent Party offer our deepest condolences to the families and communities most affected by the mass shooting in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub on Sunday morning. The shockwave from this hateful act on Latinx queer Floridians is being felt by many of us up in Maine as we ponder what it means to live in a world where our very simple choices of who to love are considered grounds for murder.
THE MAINE GREENS CALL TO END CULTURE OF VIOLENCE, HATE.
The Maine Green Independent Party denies any supposition that the kind of hate crime committed in Orlando stems from religious affiliation with Islam. The negative and hateful responses to the Islamic faith around these kinds of incidents do nothing but further incite the culture of violence. In Los Angeles, another potential shooter was stopped before he could make any attacks. In Orlando the shooter’s parents confirmed that the shooter was openly hateful of gay people and not an actively practicing Muslim.
We also oppose the claim that the shooting in Orlando was the “largest mass shooting in US history” as most media outlets have been claiming. Such a claim erases the history of violence against native peoples in America including the shootings at Sand Creek, Wounded Knee and Bloody Island, each which took over 150 lives.
Many people are quick to point out the availability of high powered assault weapons as being one of the root causes for this kind of violence, but solely removing access to weapons would not remove the potential for this level of hate. The United States is a country built on the backs of slave labor and on the appropriated land of Native Americans. We exist in a patriarchal culture where violence is respected as a means to respond to disagreements. Our major political parties ascribe to platforms of endless war. The banning of assault weapons and stronger background checks will make a difference, but not the kind of difference a flat out refusal to engage in violence as a means of problem solving would potentially bring about. We can’t though, merely point out the history and struggle with violence and toxic masculinity. Many LGBTQIA+ people are working now to find words and find the courage to continue being who they are in public, when to do so is a risk.
If you are able, make it out to your local pride weekend, kiss your same-sex or non gender binary partner in public, dress yourself in a way that makes you feel empowered and at home in your body. Offer your support for friends and family who are struggling and show up for them. If you have a car, offer to drive your friends home at night. If you have money, consider donating to an organization that works on trans rights, or another issue important to you. Show up for each other. Don’t stop questioning and working to change this broken society, the world needs you now more than ever.
Thank you and in sorrow and hopefulness,
The Maine Green Independent Party