East Campus Library Dedicates Space for LGBT Resources on Pulse Remembrance Day


Sam Schaffer

Valencia Opera Workshop Choral group sets an emotional tone for the East Campus Pulse Remembrance ceremony by opening things with “Heroes All Around.”

Sam Schaffer and Rebecca Newman

Valencia College dedicated a new area of the East Campus library to LGBT resources in honor of the lives lost at Pulse night club one year ago today.

Students and faculty gathered in the Building 3 Atrium for the Orlando United Pulse Remembrance, a ceremony commemorating the lives lost and showcasing some books that will be in the newly dedicated LGBT section of the library.

The Valencia Opera Workshop Choral set an emotional tone by singing “Heroes All Around” to get things started.

East Campus President, Dr. Stacey Johnson, then began the speaking portion of the ceremony. She reminded the crowd that it is not a day to think of hate, rather a day to think of the love and compassion that Orlando has demonstrated in the wake of a terrible event.

Chris Cuevas, Valencia Pulse Remembrance committee member and Students with Disabilities advisor, then came up to speak. “I am constantly inspired by this community,” Cuevas said referring to the community love and compassion demonstrated this past year.

“I pray that these lives lost will not be senseless, and I hope that their memories will be etched in our hearts,” Liz Jusino, career program advisor and Valencia’s Gay Straight Alliance advisor, said.

“Those lost will be forever memorialized at Valencia as we have secured an endowed scholarship called Valencia United,” Jusino said.

Next at the podium Mariangel Ayala, Gay Straight Alliance Vice President, recalled how she would have been at Pulse on June 12 if it weren’t for a migraine that kept her home.  Her friend, Tony, was injured in the attack, and she spent a few days at ORMC with him during his recovery.

“Watching Tony recuperate helped me in many ways understand,” Ayala said. She remembers Tony telling her to find the positive in every situation.

“I met someone [at ORMC] who I didn’t know would have such a huge impact on me,” Ayala added. “I can proudly say that that girl is now my girlfriend, my partner, my best friend.”

The story of Ayala’s relationship is just one of the many tales of positivity that have come in the aftermath of horror.

After the speeches, the names of the 49 victims were read and a moment of silence was held to honor them.

The Valencia Opera Workshop Choral came out again to wrap things up by singing “Alabanza”.