Other Statements and Vigils

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“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15
The news of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando is simply devastating. We grieve the tragic loss of life and the devastation it brings to families and friends of the victims. Jeremiah’s painful words name the way this tragedy is felt in our very bodies and souls—a refusal to believe, to comprehend, even to seek comfort that cannot but feel shallow.

The community at Pacific School of Religion and the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion express their deep grief to those most directly impacted, and grieve the fear that this act of violence will engender in our communities—particularly those marginalized and stereotyped by their gender identity and their faith tradition.

Our shared calling will be to resist—even in the midst of our grief—to allow the violence of this act to tear at the tensions within us. We commit ourselves to our continued work of justice that belies the dichotomy between our convictions of faith and our identity around gender, gender identity, race, and religious expression. We call on our community—students, faculty, staff, alumni/ae, and many partners within faith communities and communities of justice—to draw on our shared legacy and commitments to share in the leadership of this critical moment.

Capturing our communities’ sentiment, the Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion’s Latinx Roundtable stated: “Each person who was shot is a beloved child of God, deserving safety and dignity that was denied to them. This incident underlines the urgency of our task to bring understanding and peace to all people, to respect the lives of the LGBTQ community and all lives. We rededicate ourselves to that task today. And to those who in the name of religion will dare to blame the victims for their deaths, we say clearly, that is a heresy. Faith demands respect and care for all of God’s people, including those whose lives differ from your own. Please join us in praying for the victims of this horrific crime and for their families and loved ones. May God’s healing power and comforting presence be with those who are wounded in body, mind, and spirit today.”

Vigil is today, Monday, June 13th at 4:00 pm in the Chapel.

 

 

Rainbow Community Center
Tonight, Monday, June 13th at 6:30 pm at Club 1220
1220 Pine St., Walnut Creek

Club 1220, Rainbow Community Center and our LGBT networks and religious allies have organized a vigil on Monday June 13th at 6:30 in front of Club 1220 where we will stand in solidarity with the communities in Orlando.

Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the victims and families of the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Please donate if you are able and share this page far and wide:https://www.gofundme.com/PulseVictimsFund

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&  
Tri-City Alameda County Chapter 
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Invite you to Join Us
Remember the Victims of Hate, Terrorism, & Gun Violence
#WeAreOrlando
🌈
We will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community and vow to honor those lives taken. We also will remember the tragic event in UCLA and the two Fremont police officers who were shot in the line of duty.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Walnut Avenue and Paseo Padre Parkway

We will gather by the Veteran’s Memorial Park for brief interfaith prayers and remarks. We will then move to the four corners of the intersection to show our solidarity and to be a presence to the community that we will not stand for these hateful actions and this continued violence in our nation. #ENOUGH!

If you wish to bring signs of support, please keep in mind that this is a peaceful event to mourn the victims of hate, terrorism, and gun violence.

(Examples:  #WeAreOrlando   #Enough!    Love > Hate!     Violence is Never the Answer     90 Victims a Day, etc. )  

Please share this information with your communities, congregations, families and friends.

 

 

 

Shattered
Orlanda, FL. June 12, 2016
Photo by Steve Nesius/Reuters
     Justice, reason, and respect demand that we do not hastily react to the horrific events that happened in Orlando, Florida, during the morning hours of June 12, 2016.  But we cannot wait for news reports and official investigations to express our outrage and concern.  At the present moment, over fifty people have been killed and fifty more injured in a senseless shooting.  The target of these vicious attacks is the LGBTQ Community which is often threatened, condemned, and marginalized.
     Our hearts go out to the people of Orlando who have prided themselves on being a welcoming community.  The Interfaith Peace Project stands proudly in solidarity with the LGBTQ Community and pledges to continue to do all in our power to continue fostering understanding, acceptance, and respect.
     We urge people of faith to reexamine their understanding of sexual orientation insuring that their teachings and practices do not endanger the lives of very real people.  The time has come once again to end the prejudice, fear, and hateful rhetoric that often occur when speaking about people who belong to so-called sexual minorities.
  We call upon political leaders and governmental officials not to reduce this tragedy to political opportunism.  We caution everyone about labeling religious people, immigrants, and other minorities with names and slogans that enable unscrupulous people to react with hatred, scorn, and violence.
    For now we mourn and pray to God that this violence ends.  Together we must work for what is right and just.
Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
with The Board of Directors of the Interfaith Peace Project

 

 

Bay Area Muslims Urged to Participate in Solidarity Events & Efforts Following Orlando Attacks

(SANTA CLARA, CA, 6/12/2016) – The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SFBA) today joins Muslims across the Bay Area, and our fellow Americans in grief and anger to condemn the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. We offer our condolences and prayer for the victims and their families.
CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo said:
“We join our fellow Americans in expressing our deepest condolences to the victims and their families. We are horrified by this tragedy and encourage all people to donate blood, support the various victims’ funds, and attend vigils in their neighborhoods. We are stronger when we we stand together against hate violence.”

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad

said at a press conference in D.C. this afternoon:
“We cannot fight injustice against some group and not against others. Homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia are interconnected systems of oppression and we cannot dismantle one without dismantling the others.”
CAIR-Florida’s Orlando Regional Coordinator Rasha Mubarak said in a statement:
“We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured. The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”
Following 9/11, the LGBTQ organizations provided consistent and continuous support of the Muslim American community against the challenges of discrimination and Islamophobia. Now, we stand with the LGBTQ community in condemning this attack. We believe Muslims, such as recently passed Muhammad Ali, exemplify true Islamic principles of equality, while people like Omar Mateen represent the enemy of the faith and humanity.
“…if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind…” – the Holy Quran (Chapter Five, Verse 32).
CAIR-SFBA encourages members of the Bay Area Muslim community to attend one of the several vigils being held in solidarity with the victims this evening:
Castro Valley – http://bit.ly/25S3ybV
San Francisco – http://bit.ly/24K3BAQ
San Jose – http://bit.ly/1tkWyTr
In addition, donations are encouraged through the following initiative: http://bit.ly/1YkaJni.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo, 626.252.0885, zbilloo@cair.com; CAIR-SFBA Communications & Outreach Coordinator Nashwah Akhtar, 408.986.9874, nakhtar@cair.com

GRIEVE. SHOW COMPASSION. BE PROUD. ACT.

The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, bishop of California, has issued the following statement concerning the massacre in Orlando on his blog.

“It was with great sadness yesterday morning that I learned of the massacre at Pulse night club in Orlando. Omar Mateen, the gunman, took the lives of 49 people and has wounded another 53. He is also dead now. As with attacks in this country in schools and theaters this deadly attack — in a place where people have gone expecting to be safe, to celebrate life itself — is especially grievous.
“As the United Nations was developing its eight goals to eliminate extreme poverty, Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, who succeeded Desmond Tutu as Archbishop of Capetown, suggested to me that there should be a ninth goal, one that is spiritual: the goal of reconciliation. He said that if humanity is not reconciled to one another, none of the other goals was possible. I think he was on to something, and over the intervening years I have come to believe that all the great spiritual goals, developed by the world’s religions, are essential for humanity to reach its pragmatic development goals. At the least, I think there are three other spiritual goals for humanity, whether working for climate justice, against terror, for LGBT* inclusion, or for an end to gun violence: forgiveness, compassion, and reverence.
“While I have mostly engaged the spiritual goals in working to alter climate change, they are applicable for all situations. My diocese is centered in San Francisco, a long-time sanctuary for LGBT* people and really all people seeking to be themselves, encounter compassion, and give and receive respect. June is Pride month, a rainbow flag hangs from my office‘s building, many of my congregations have special services on Pride Sunday, and this attack has been a shock to many in the LGBT* community.
“The LGBT* community is resilient, though. It has faced terror for decades, still faces terror today in many parts of our country, and faces legalized terror in numbers of countries around the world. The LGBT* community here is loved and should continue to be proud. Being out, acting up, and refusing to be or go back into the closet is an act of courage (another spiritual quality) and defiance against hatred and terror.
“Whether the attack in Orlando was an organized international terror attack, a lone person exercising fanaticism, or simply someone so hate-filled that two men kissing led him to shoot wildly in a crowded night club, all of us impacted — all who seek sanctuary and who have known it defiled — must show reverence for human life, compassion to the grieving, forgiveness (even if time is necessary), and work for reconciliation of our differences and hatreds.
“In my tradition, we believe that in his resurrection Jesus defeated death and ended the power of death. Jesus also commanded Christians to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost someone close to them, as are the thoughts and prayers of spiritual leaders, politicians, and every day people from around the world. We must also extend our thoughts and prayers into advocacy.
“In the United States we have the privilege of choosing our government officials — and this year is an election year. I pray that thoughts and prayers will change us, change our behaviors and prompt us to contact our elected officials and demand better gun restrictions from universal background checks to closing gun show and online sales loopholes to limiting access to assault rifles and high-volume magazines.
“I grieve with the people of Orlando, and I grieve with the LGBT* people of my diocese — whether they are Christians or Episcopalians or not. I pray that we show one another compassion and care in our grief. I am proud of the LGBT* people who continue to stand in defiance of fear tactics and hate, and I look forward to celebrating Pride in San Francisco later this month. Finally I pray that this mass shooting motivate us all to act for better, common sense, gun laws in our country.
MHA+”
The Episcopal Diocese of California serves a diverse community of faith encompassing the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Approximately 27,000 people form 80 congregations in six counties. More information about the Diocese of California can be found at www.diocal.org.
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If you’d like more information about this topic or to schedule and interview with Joseph Peters-Mathews, please call him at 415.869.7820 or email him at josephm@diocal.org. Note: Peters-Mathews is home sick on Monday, June 13, and is only sporadically checking email.The Diocese of California’s graphics library and press kit are available here.