A few months ago, we rejoiced when same-sex marriage became a legal right for all people who identify as LGBTQ. We chanted “Love Wins” and posted photos of rainbow flags rippling proudly in the wind against a sunny blue sky.

love wins orlando

This week, the same flags tether under somber grey clouds as we mourn the many tragic losses in Orlando. The largest mass shooting in U.S. history targeted an LGBTQ community that is also a community of color; 90 percent of the victims were Latin and more than half were Puerto Rican.

The atmosphere of disrespect and hatred that communities of color continue to suffer is incomprehensible and ugly. In the words of an LGBT organizer in a recent YouTube video, “We have to demand a stop to that message of hate and intolerance.”

We have hope that out of this awful darkness will come a light. A shining, blinding, blazing light. And to get there, we must stay together with people that share our values. We must hold hands with others who have zero tolerance for hate and violence. We must stay strong, united and focused. We must balance our sorrow and anger with action. We must work even harder to end the epidemic of gun violence and racism.

This loss is beyond heartbreaking. We’re still here. Flags fly high. Love – still – wins.