Victims of crime do not suffer in silence. Under attack, their suffering is loud and combustible, piercing through and sublimating any quiet, any calm, any order that went before.
Recently released videos show the work of law enforcement officers that responded to — and then finally ended — the mayhem and the murders at Pulse nightclub in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016. The videos remind us that this was ugly, chaotic, noisy, and gut-wrenching — anything but silent.
Among the many excerpts from the 15 hours of police body camera video is the shouted direction of a first responder to at least one of the surviving patrons: “I need you to crawl this way! Follow my light!” There was little other illumination in the darkness and disorder. Another public servant directing escaping patrons into the street yelled, “Just go!”
Intended to prompt immediate and responsive action, the exclamations “Follow my light!” and “Just go!” are no less compelling calls to movement today, one year after the worst mass shooting in all of American history.
It has become commonplace that each of these tragic events prompts a renewed round of calls to do something — anything — to end the cycle of violence, injury and death, whatever its motivation or wherever its source.
But this time, there is a renewed opportunity for reasonable people to act. These actions can still move our communities toward some remedial changes that address core challenges and foundational problems.
A 90-minute, interactive time of discussion and organization — as a follow-up to Milwaukee’s June 11 Rally for Unity and Pride — takes place at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, 1110 N. Market St., Second Floor, in Milwaukee, Thursday, June 22, at 6:00 p.m. The event is open to all.
Participants will be identifying strategies, gathering resources, and recruiting partners to focus on issues and challenges that truly matter — education, health care, housing, employment, voting, immigration, faith, family, and youth. The gathering will conclude with a summary of areas for attention and work in the future, as well as a strategic outline to make things happen.
Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, “A good indignation brings out all one’s powers.” The residents of Milwaukee and its surrounding communities are ready to pursue healing, undertake action, follow the light — and go!
More information is available at mkelgbt.org and on the LGBT Center’s Facebook page.
James L. Santelle was employed by the United States Department of Justice for thirty years—over six of those as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He was and remains among the group of community advocates who organized the Milwaukee Rally for Unity and Pride and its follow-up gatherings on a variety of civil and human rights issues and challenges.