What Should Be Remembered

These are the faces we need to remember.

These are the lives we need to celebrate.

These are the people who needlessly lost their lives, who leave behind grieving parents and families and lovers and friends.

One of the many moving stories to come out of the Orlando shooting is the harrowing and ultimately sorrowful text exchange between a mother and son. Eddie Justice began texting his mother, Mina Justice, shortly after the shooting began. He was hiding in a bathroom and his first message was heartbreaking:

“Mommy I love you.”

He indicated he was trapped and that someone was shooting in the club. He texted her that he was at Pulse, and to call the police.

“I’m gonna die.”

I tried to imagine what was going on in their heads, what they were thinking as they typed those texts to each other, connected in the middle of the night, one last time – a mother and a son, and a bond that was about to be tested in the worst possible way. His mother quickly responded, sending messages asking if he was ok. She called 911. She texted more. Half an hour later, he wrote back:

“Call them mommy


He’s coming. I’m gonna die.”


The instant I read ‘Mommy,’ I wept.

I wept for Mina, and the helplessness a mother feels and fears the most.

I wept for Eddie, and the helplessness a child feels and fears the most.

I wept for all of us gay boys and girls who cried out ‘Mommy’ in a moment of need and terror, for all of us who ever felt scared to be ourselves, who looked to the one person who was supposed to unconditionally love us no matter what. That is a basic human need, it goes above and beyond our sexuality, yet no other group has historically been so disowned and unloved, and often by their own parents, thanks to a culture of shame and intolerance, fed and fueled by religious dogma and willful ignorance.

I wept for all the people trapped in that club, who likely felt terror for the last moments of their lives, who were away from their mothers and their families.

I even wept for the person who was so blinded by hate that he had to destroy innocence and love, and the lives of countless others.

Most of all, I wept for a world that allowed, and continues to allow, such events to happen, and for not understanding how anything like this could come to be.

Mina Justice

Eddie Justice


Tonight, however, I hope.

I hope you and I will remember not the blood or the fear or the tears, but the love.

I hope we remember the light that these 49 human beings brought to the loved ones in their lives.

I hope we honor their memory, that we cherish each other a little more because of it, and that this never happens again.

I hope…

Because it’s all I can do.


Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

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