Sunday, June 12 was among the most tragic and dispiriting days for the United States in recent years. All of us at the Ford Foundation share in the grief of the families and friends of the 49 people killed and those wounded in the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. The toll that this loss of human potential represents to the nation will be felt for years to come – we will never benefit from the contributions that would have been made by these individuals because their lives were brutally cut short.
In times like these the character of a nation and its people is tested. Amidst the loss, we take solace and encouragement in witnessing the work of many people and organizations that have come together across lines of sexual identity, religion, and race to take a stand against LGBT discrimination, Islamophobia, and gun violence.
Refusing to be divided, many leaders of the American Muslim and LGBT community are working closely together in solidarity and with courage. The American Muslim community has raised tens of thousands of dollars for victims and their families. We’ve seen Muslim Advocates headline a Human Rights Campaign press conference, and joint social media activity from the National LGBTQ Taskforce and Muslim Advocates. Within hours of the tragedy, more than 60 national leaders from across civil rights movements came together to understand the moment and think about how to help the nation move forward in solidarity.
It is these kinds of actions that give us strength, showing that even in the darkest of moments, we can lift a shared lamp of hope.
Darren Walker President of the Ford Foundation