Racism, Bigotry, Homophobia and Cold Blooded Murder

By Carlos Alejandro Budhabhatti, Project Manager, Immigrant Empowerment Foundation, Inc., No Vote- Many Voices Project


On early Sunday Morning, at approximately 2:00am, at a nightclub, called The Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, lights flashed to signal “last call” for drinks.  Moments later, there was a convergence of hate and automatic guns.   Automatic gunfire rang out.  An assailant, Omar Mateen, proceeded to kill 49 people at the club and injure more than 50 others, 6 critically.  Over 71% (35 of 49) of those killed were Latino.  Many of the over 50 injured were also were Gay and/or Latino who were attending Saturday’s Salsa Night at The Pulse.  This violent act comes on the heels of a statement last week by the 2012, Republican Presidential Nominee, Mitt Romney, where he voiced the detrimental effect on our society of the divisive and hateful rhetoric of Donald Trump.

Mitt Romney stated that the Trump Rhetoric will lead to “trickle down racism and bigotry” in our society.  This statement by Mitt Romney struck me at the time as a concise summary of my own concerns, of how the 2016 Presidential Campaign’s Rhetoric and message of hate will impact the undocumented workers who are labeled as “Rapists and Murderers”, or as the “cause job loss in America” and specific statements to “deport all 11 Million undocumented workers”.  The point is that the constant negative message of Donald Trump’s rhetoric affects all Latinos.  This includes the successful Latino businessman or woman, to the undocumented Mexican day worker who wants earn enough money for the day to eat, pay rent and send money to his family.

The gunman, Omar Mateen, born in Queens, New York, is nothing more than a mentally ill and sick murderer.   He talked about killing people as far back as elementary school.  He is a criminal who happens to be Muslim.   Mateen’s claim to support or be inspired ISIS and al-Qaeda is evidence that this young man was mentally unstable.   Most people know that ISIS and al-Qaeda are sometimes considered mortal enemies, although they all are anti-western democracy organizations and criminal enterprises.    This is subtle evidence that the murderer, Omar Mateen, from Queens, New York, was not necessary radicalized by the philosophical messaging of organizations like ISIS or al-Qaeda, but that this weak minded young man had lost hope, had no capacity to respect the rights of others, and no capacity to respect others that may be different than himself.    He hated Latinos and he hated Gays.   As President Obama stated in his press conference on Tuesday June 14, 2016, ISIS is nothing more than a bunch of “thieves and thugs”.  The murderer, Omar Mateen, was merely inspired by other criminals.

Did Omar Mateen kill because he hated Latino’s?  Did he kill because he hated Gays?   Did he kill because he was a Bigot?  Did he kill for Jihad? During his rampage, two witnesses have reported Mateen said “I don’t have anything against black people”.    So, as of today, we do not know his true motive.  But we do know by his actions that he hated other human beings.

Mitt Romney’s statement last week was prophetic.  Hateful political rhetoric such as Donald Trump’s daily tweets or hateful speeches which target Mexicans, Gays, Women, African-Americans, Muslims, and others has consequences.  This hate trickles down into society.   We do not definitively know what triggered Omar Mateen to his horrific action.  However, on Sunday, June 12, 2016, at approximately 2:00am, hatred struck again in America.    A mentally ill young man named Omar Mateen, a criminal born in Queens, New York, acted on his hate by killing 49 Latinos, Gays, and other innocent human beings, and injuring over 50 others.  As of today, 33 victims are in the hospital, 6 in critical condition.

At the Immigrant Empowerment Foundation, and the No Vote-Many Voices Project, we thank El Observador, founded in 1980, for its allowing us to express our opinion and sympathy to all victims.   We call upon all people of faith to pray for the family and friends of those killed and injured, and to pray for tolerance and love.   We also call upon Immigrant Rights Advocates, the Anti-Gun Lobby and the LGBT Community to work together and take the fight to where it belongs.  Let’s use our vote to change Congress with a focused strategy that targets the most vulnerable members of the Senate and House of Representatives.  Then, and only then, will we have meaningful change.

In memory of the victims, may they Rest In Peace !

List of Deceased victims:

1.  Edward Sotomayor, Jr., Age 34

2. Stanley Almodovar III, Age 23

3. Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Age 20

4. Juan Ramon Guerrero, Age 22

5. Kimberly Morris, Age 37

6. Luis S. Vielma, 22

7. Amanda Alvear, Age 25

8. Enrique L. Rios, Jr., Age 25

9. Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Age 35

10. Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32

11.  Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, Age 24

12.  Javier Jorge-Reyes, Age 40

13.  Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Age 37

14.  Akyra Murray, 18

15.  Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, Age 49

16.   Tevin Eugene Crosby, Age 25

17.  Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Age 22

18.  Darryl Roman Burt II, Age 29

19.  Deonka Deidra Drayton, Age 32

20.  Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21

21.  Anthony Luis Laureanodisia, 25

22.  Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

23.  Franky Jimmy De Jesus Velazquez, Age 50

24.  Martin Benitez Torres, Age 33

25.  Mercedes Marisol Flores, Age 26

26.   Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Age 35

27.  Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Age 25

28.  Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Age 31

29.  Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, Age 26

30.  Miguel Angel Honorato, Age 30

31.  Joel Rayon Paniagua, Age 32

32.  Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Age 19

33.  Cory James Connell, Age 21

34.  Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Age 37

35.  Luis Daniel Conde, Age 39

36.  Shane Evan Tomlinson, Age 33

37.   Juan Chevez-Martinez, Age 25

38.  Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Age 36

39.  Jeraid Arthur Wright, Age 31

40.  Leroy Valentin Fernandez, Age 25

41.  Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, Age 27

42.   Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, Age 33

43.  Yilmary Rodriguez Sullivan, Age 24

44.  Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, Age 30

45.  Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Age 28

46.  Frank Hernandez, Age 27

47.  Paul Terrell Henry, Age 41

48.  Antonio Devon Brown, Age 29

49. Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Age 24