More than 200 people marched from the Castro to the Mission District in solidarity with the LGBT Latino community for its loss in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, which targeted a gay nightclub known as a hotspot for gay Latinos. The shooting occurred on Latin night, and the vast majority of its 49 victims were Latino.
“What we’re doing today is about love, support, and solidarity with our Latino community and our communities of color,” said Terry Allen, a co-organizer of Saturday’s march alongside Cleve Jones, the prominent gay rights activist.
Jones said that in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, he heard from LGBT Latino community members who felt “excluded” by the vigil honoring the victims held in the Castro hours after the shooting.
“That is shameful,” Jone said through a bullhorn at Harvey Milk Plaza, where hundreds gathered and began the march towards Galería de la Raza on 24th Street at 3 p.m. “We will not allow our community to be divided by racism, transphobia, or any other stuff.”
Jones got in touch with Lito Sandoval, the president of the Latino Democratic Club, who along with other LGBT Mission District leaders wanted to ensure that the Latino aspect of the tragedy was not erased.
Sandoval said a march from the Castro to the Mission District stressing the Latino aspect of the tragedy would be welcome.
“I thought of all the times I had asked people to march to the Castro,” said Jones. “And I thought, ‘We should march to the Mission.’”
Hundreds of people walked down Castro Street and turned on 18th Street towards the Mission District, shouting “Somos Orlando!” and “Orlando vive!” as they marched past Dolores Park. The massive crowd held up signs with the names of those killed in the attack last week and marched to Galería de la Raza on 24th Street for an event at 4 p.m.
Mission Local could not stay for the event at Galería de la Raza due to the five-alarm fire at 29th and Mission streets.