latin nights

Months After Pulse Shooting: 'There Is A Wound On The Entire Community'

On June 12, 2016, a gunman killed 49 people and injured dozens of others in what became the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. The Pulse nightclub, a popular space for the LGBT community in Orlando, Fla., was holding a Latin Night, and the club was packed with patrons both gay and straight, young and not-so-young, from the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and elsewhere. The massacre sent waves through the many intertwined communities in the city.

Over the last six months, these communities of Orlando — whether LGBT, Latino, Hispanic, religious, or more broadly — have worked in different ways to overcome the traumatic events of that day. Photographer Cassi Alexandra spoke to people across those communities that were touched by the tragedy, either through personal experience, loss of a loved one, or the impact on the city itself. These stories examine the recovery process this community continues to go through, including questioning the acceptance of violence as a country and discussing the damaging legacy of violent acts such as this.

Brandon Wolf grew up in a suburb of Portland, Ore., and has lived in Orlando since 2008. He went to Pulse that night with three friends — Eric Borrero, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and Juan Guerrero. 

“We made a break for the fire exit and just ran through the smoke,” Brandon says. “We didn’t look back and kept running from the building.”

Emily Addison and her 2-year-old son, Diyari, lost Deonka “Dee Dee” Drayton in the Pulse massacre.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how hard I prayed,” Emily says. “I wanted her to be in the hospital so bad, I didn’t care what kind of predicament she was in, because I knew I was going to take care of her. … But it didn’t turn out that way.”

Shane Young is chairperson of the Youth Council at Zebra Coalition, an advocacy group for LGBT+ youth in Central Florida. He and his mother, Trish Glad, live in Saint Cloud, Fla., where Shane attended three high schools before dropping out to study for his GED because of what he described as “terrible bullying” from students and staff members because he is transgender.

“Worrying if my kid was going to be alive when I picked him up at the end of the school day was horrible, and it was all the time,” Trish says. “Just kids threatening to slit his throat, and the police won’t do anything unless there’s actual bodily harm.”

Blue is a well-known figure in the LGBT community of Orlando and owner of The Venue.

“You can talk about gun control and you can talk about raising people with love and you can talk about ways that you would’ve changed upbringing … the world is a crazy place,” she says. “If I sat here and thought about all the ways that we could’ve prevented that I would probably be sitting here and speaking for hours. The fact of the matter is we have to look at what we’ve gotten from it and move forward with that.”

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Photos and interviews by Cassi Alexandra

okay so do you know when you do something really weird and only after you’ve done it do you realise how weird it was well uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

i looked to see if there was any books at my uni about colin farrell (deep breath) and there are some but the one that sticks out is :::::

apparently this scholar taught colin farrell some latin for fright night and was so overwhelmed by the experience that they wrote a fucking journal article about it

Element Names: Darkness/Night

Word Names

  • Abyss
  • Charcoal
  • Chasm
  • Cimmerian
  • Coal
  • Crow
  • Ebony
  • Eerie
  • Erebus
  • Gloom
  • Ink
  • Jet
  • Night
  • Noir
  • Obsidian
  • Onyx
  • Panther
  • Raven
  • Shade
  • Shadow
  • Smoke
  • Somber
  • Soot
  • Stygian
  • Void

Names with meanings related to “darkness”

  • Braith: Welsh; meaning “black and white”
  • Catahecassa: Native America Shawnee; meaning “dark hoof”
  • Cronan: Irish; meaning “dark one”
  • Darcy: Irish; meaning “dark”
  • Delaney: Irish; meaning “dark challenger”
  • Donovan: Irish; meaning “dark”
  • Hadrian: Latin; meaning “dark-haired”
  • Inali: Native America; meaning “black fox”
  • Isra: Arabic; meaning “journey of the night”
  • Itzal: Basque; meaning “shadow”
  • Kali: Indian/ Hindu goddess; meaning “the dark one”
  • Keir: Irish; meaning “dark/black”
  • Kieran: Irish; meaning “dark”
  • Layla: Arabic; meaning “night/black”
  • Lilith: Arabic; meaning “of the night”; Jewish mythology (female demon)
  • Melanie: Greek; meaning “black/dark skinned”
  • Melantha: Greek; meaning “dark flower”
  • Mercel: Dutch; meaning “black bird”
  • Nox: Latin; meaning “night”; also Roman mythology (equivalent to Greek goddess Nyx)
  • Nyx: Greek mythology (goddess of the night); meaning “night”
  • Orpheus: Greek; meaning “the darkness of night”
  • Perran: Cornish; meaning “little dark one”
  • Rajani: Sanskrit; meaning “dark; of the night”
  • Ravenna: English; meaning “raven”
  • Senka: Serbian/Croatian; meaning “shadow”
  • Shyam: Indian (Sanskrit); meaning “dark”
  • Sullivan: English; meaning “dark eyes”
  • Tamal/Tamala: Indian (Sanskrit); meaning “dark tree”
  • Tzila: Hebrew; meaning “shadow”
  • Umbrielle: Latin; meaning “one in the shadow”
  • Zilla: Hebrew; meaning “shadow”

 Last Names

  • Duff: Scottish; meaning “dark”
  • Dunkle: German; meaning “dark”
  • Rapp: German/Jewish; meaning “dark haired or raven-like”

“I will happily embrace a Latin night at a gay club at the theme-park capital of the world as the ultimate symbol of what is truly wonderful about America.”

June 12, 2016
Became immortalized
In fifty tombstones
And in the hearts
Of far too many to count.

They thought
They were safe
That this was a safe space
That they had a space
That no one could take away this space.

Inside this space
They were laughing
They were among family
Inside this space
They were living.

Fingers curled around the trigger
Shots were fired
At the hand of a man
Who used the blanket of fear
To try and cover up his hatred.

Take a moment
To imagine
Receiving a text message
From your son, your daughter, your friend
“I’m gonna die”

“In club”
“They shooting”
“Trapp in bathroom”
“Call them mommy”
“He’s coming”

Get out of Pulse
Keep running”
Their blood splattered the streets
And soaked through carpets
And stained tiles
All this blood was lost
And yet, the FDA won’t let us donate.

It was Latin Night
Fue noche latina
Y fue la noche
Perdí a mis hermanos
Y hermanas para siempre.

Beautiful brown babies
Were taken from us
Forty nine
Lives were lost.

The irony is not lost
The place was called
And it’s where
So many stopped.

The words
“Mass shooting”
Won’t stop haunting me
I can’t close my eyes
Without being reminded.

I wasn’t there
But my heart was
And I’ll never forget
I can’t

I’ve cried so much
I swear I’m dehydrated
But, god,
If I don’t realize how lucky I am
To be crying at all.

At first all I can do is cry
For the mothers and fathers
Who aren’t parents anymore
For the lovers who lost
Their other half.

I cried for the brothers and sisters
Cousins and aunts and uncles
Who will look around the dinner table
And notice the empty chair.
I cried for the friends
Who wanted to go out that night, but didn’t
And had to wake up to the news that their last text
To their best friend really was
The last text.

I cried for the friends
Who went out that night and had to watch
Their friend fall before them
Who sat in their blood and hoped and prayed
That they would open their eyes.

It felt like forever
But the tears finally stopped
And then
All I saw
Was red.

And rage
They seep into my bones
And instead of weighing me down
I carry it with me everywhere I go.

Don’t tell me to calm down
Don’t tell me to get over it
Don’t tell me to stop talking about it
I can’t
And I won’t.

So what do we do now?
What happens now?
Where do we go from here?
Is there anywhere to go from here?
I don’t know.

I wish there were
For something like this
Maybe even a guide book
“How To Go On With Life After Losing 49 Members of Your Family”

I feel
And I wish
It had been

Is it possible
To feel survivor’s guilt
When you were never
On the other side
Of the gun?

I wish
I could do more
Than cry
Or donate
Or write this poem.

But what is there for me to do?
They can have all my money
I don’t need it
And funerals are expensive
But you can’t put a dollar on a human life.

What can I do?
I’ll retweet the tweets
And reblog all the posts
Just to raise awareness
But is anyone even listening?

What can I do?
I carry their names in my heart
I keep them alive
In all the ways I can think to
But I can’t bring them back.

I can’t
Turn back the clock
I can’t
Stop time
I can’t.

I feel
Scared .

I feel like
They won.

Being everyone who ever wanted
To see us fall
Being the ones who never stood up for us.

I can’t help it
I feel like they won
That they got what they wanted
And after all of this
I don’t even know what I want.

Do I want an apology?
Do I want a time machine?
Do I want to know why this happened?
Do I want justice?
Do I want what I know I’ll never get?

In four hours
Was broken
And now all we can do
Is try to put the pieces back together.

We can
Turn it off
Then turn it back on
We can
Pull the cartridge out and blow on it.

We can
Unplug the wires
Count to ten
Then plug it back in

We can
But we can’t
We can’t fix
What has been broken
We can’t make it new again.

So what can we do?
We can’t go back
We can go forward
And we can fight.

We can
We will
Be heard
They will not silence us

We can
We will
Fight for ourselves
For our family
For our community.

We can
We will
Say their names
We won’t let them
Be forgotten.

We can
We will
Live for them
They did not die in vain
And god damn it, if we will let the memory of them wilt.

We will bloom
From the wounds
Where we once bled
They tried to bury us
But did not realize we were seeds.

They tried to drown us
But did not realize we could breathe underwater
They tried to clip our wings
But did not realize we had claws.

We are the children of tomorrow
We are the voices for the ones
Who lost theirs
We are not a force to be reckoned with
We are the future.

We are angry
And we are scared
But we are more
Than that
We are the forty-nine.

In a place
Called “Pulse”
So many stopped that night
But mine
Will keep beating for them.


49 things to know about the 49 || it’s been six months since the pulse shooting, please don’t stop talking about it. please don’t forget about it.
(cc, 2016)

you guys can check out this poem and so many more in my LGBT+ poetry anthology - Have Some Pride - coming soon!