Children and teachers in school. Churchgoers mid-prayer. Theater patrons enjoying a new movie. Students on their college campuses. Friends and families dancing and celebrating Latin Night during Pride. Peaceful protesters and police officers. And so many more innocent lives lost to senseless gun violence.
How many lives will be enough?
As we pass the one month anniversary of the tragedy in Orlando, waking up to news of another shooting, another mass murder, another massacre in someone’s hometown is now commonplace. And it has to stop.
Early in the morning of June 12, our LGBTQ community was targeted. During Pride Month, an individual who had been questioned by the FBI — not once, but twice — took a weapon of war into Pulse nightclub in Orlando and murdered members of our community and our allies. Forty-nine people lost their lives; 53 others were injured. A safe space for the LGBTQ community became anything but, and families, friends, partners, husbands, and wives lost their loved ones.
That’s why this July 6, Pride Fund to End Gun Violence announced its formation as a political action committee to support federal candidates who will act on sensible gun policy reforms while championing LGBTQ safety and equality. Pride Fund is working with other gun reform organizations to mobilize the LGBTQ community and our allies, raise funds to counter the robust financial power of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers, and elect candidates who will be champions of these causes.
By building upon our community’s battle-after-battle wins for equality, Pride Fund is turning the frustration and anger into action by focusing on achieving sensible gun reforms to make America safer for all. LGBTQ individuals have suffered through and overcome countless obstacles. Not too long ago, laws across the United States criminalized our intimacy, barred us from marriage, refused to recognize our families, and barred us from openly serving our country in the military. At each turn, we successfully overcame each of those challenges by coming together, and we continue to fight acts of hatred and intolerance. Most recently, a hate-filled man armed with a weapon of war targeted our community with an unprecedented level of violence. In response, Pride Fund is organizing and mobilizing to retake our public and private spaces from the threat of gun violence.
According to an analysis by the FBI, our community suffers more hate crimes than any other protected group. Supporting pro-LGBTQ candidates who also believe in common-sense gun reform is essential to our safety and our continued march towards equality. When weapons like the Sig Sauer MCX, the AR-15, and other deadly semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines are sold openly, we are not safe. Furthermore, when suspected terrorists who are prohibited from flying are legally allowed to purchase weapons of war, we are not safe.
In order to disarm hate, Pride Fund will serve as the strong, concentrated voice of the LGBTQ community that fights for common-sense gun reform. We support federal candidates who champion LGBTQ equality, safety, and are passionate about reforming our gun laws. We are standing on the shoulders of past LGBTQ champions to mobilize our community for progress yet again. Pride Fund is campaigning for candidates to secure victories this November, and future victories, that help achieve long-lasting, meaningful gun reforms that will protect all Americans.
In the first two weeks of fundraising, the organization raised nearly $23,000. Pride Fund plans to have a strong impact in November and is well on its way to raising its initial goal of $500,000 for this election cycle.
Join the movement, spread the word and donate to the cause by visiting PrideFund.org. Help us end this cycle of senseless gun violence.
To get involved, volunteer, or donate to help enact real gun reform, visit our website at PrideFund.org.