Erik McGregor is a New York City based artist, photographer and activist. Erik is a member of the People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street and co-writer of the Occupy Wall Street’s Declaration of the Occupation of New York City. As a published freelance photographer, he has documented activist groups actions in NYC since 2011.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Gays Against Guns and NYC LGBTQ nightlife community held a memorial rally to honor the 49 Pulse nightclub victims demanding gun control and safe spaces
NEW YORK, NY — On Monday, June 12, 2017; Gays Against Guns (G.A.G.) and partnering LGBTQ nightclubs organized a public event to mark the one-year anniversary of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre, outside the Stonewall National Monument in New York City. The event memorializes the 49 victims, demands revisions to flawed gun laws, and demands that LGBTQ spaces remain safe from hate crimes and gun violence.
The Pulse Memorial Rally features appearances by Pulse survivor Keinon Carter; Lavender Light Gospel Choir; NYC Drag Queen of Soul and Kinky Boots star Crystal Demure; members of the Queer Urban Orchestra; youth acapella group Passing Notes; singers Judy Torres, Aaron Paul, Frenchie Davis, Corey Tut, and Anthony Lamont; Broadway star Felicia Finley; spoken word performers Miss Teary Man Made and Gia Man Made; dance group House of Duende; members of the Queer Urban Orchestra; and many others.
49 veiled “Human Beings” memorialized the victims, each of whose name will be read by community leaders. Patrons of 30 partnering LGBTQ bars and clubs, including Henrietta Hudson, Stonewall Inn, Rockbar, Ty’s, Duplex, Hangar, Boots and Saddle, Cubbyhole, Julius, Phoenix, Nowhere, Eastern Bloc, the Monster, Therapy, Marie’s Crisis, Ninth Avenue Saloon, Metropolitan, and Club Evolution, among others, walked silently in groups to meet outside Stonewall Inn for a solemn yet ultimately celebratory event ending in a dance party with DJ's Christy Love and W. Jeremy. Afterwards, the public was invited to meet up at partnering bars throughout New York City for drink specials and community-building.
G.A.G. was formed by local LGBTQ activists after the Pulse massacre to insure that the community’s voice be heard through direct action against flawed gun legislation, and to stand up against gun violence imposed upon all marginalized communities.
In one year, G.A.G. has established six active chapters throughout the country and received national and international attention for mounting highly visible protests, street theater, and media campaigns against NRA-linked politicians and companies like BlackRock, Reebok, FedEx, Wyndham, and Hertz.
“There's not a week that goes by where I don't grieve losing a safer space for LGBTQ+ people, especially LGBTQ+ people of color, here in Orlando,” said David Thomas Moran of GAG Orlando. “Today is not just a day of remembrance but also a call to action, to change our gun safety laws, to protect marginalized communities most targeted by gun violence.”
“The attack at Pulse in June 2016 and the attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina one year earlier are painful reminders that our country has a terrible problem with gun violence against minority communities,” said GAG activist Nelson Bernardo Caraballo. “The fact that our current government is actively seeking to pass even more dangerous gun laws makes it all the more urgent that we fight for gun control and protection in our community spaces,” he said.
Gays Against Guns NY is an inclusive direct action group of LGBTQ people and their allies committed to nonviolently breaking the gun industry's chain of death—investors, manufacturers, the NRA, and politicians who block strong gun laws. We are New York-based but work with GAG chapters in other cities to ensure safety for all individuals, particularly vulnerable communities such as people of color, women, people who struggle with mental health issues, LGBTQ people, and religious minorities.