Saturday night was “Upscale Latin Saturday” at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando that early Sunday morning became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Orlando police have not yet released all of the victims' names, but so far nearly all are Latino.
As friends and family grieve lost loved ones, the shooting is drawing attention to a growing community of Latin Americans who also identify as gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
Univision's Enrique Acevedo joins Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson for a look at the Orlando shooting's impact on the Latino community.
Interview Highlights: Enrique Acevedo
On the identities of the victims:
The vast majority of the victims are Latino men between the ages of 20 and 50 years old. The Latino community is reacting as the rest of the nation in grief, in disbelief that this could happen in our country, in a town like Orlando, in a state like Florida. There's a large influx of Puerto Ricans to this specific region of Florida. And unfortunately there a few of the victims identified as from Puerto Rican origin US citizens. I guess people are trying to ask the same questions everyone else is asking: Why did this happen? Could it have been prevented and what are we doing to make sure i t doesn't happen ever again?
On what the scene has been like:
I think people are still trying to understand what happened. There are so many contentious issues around it, and the political climate has added to that mix. People talk about gun control, religion, mental health issues, race. And people are trying to understand the component of what happened here. It says a lot for me that we as a society are confused right now to try to make sense of these senseless acts of violence. The Latino community like every other person in the country in this nation are in shock, trying to wrap their heads around what happened in the first hours of Sunday in that nightclub and trying to unite with everyone else in Orlando and try to have a common front with this message of love and unity that we've seen from so many people here in Orlando.
In a way it doesn't, it feels like everything is scripted: how we react, how we learn about what's going on, how politicians or President Obama has to come out and talk about this once again, and we go through this scripted process of grief, anger and frustration, and trying to come up with the right label or the right way to understand things.Enrique Acevedo
On how homosexuality fits in with Latino culture:
I think Latinos are traditionally social conservatives, and homosexuality has until very recently has come out of the closet in the Latino community in a way, and the LGBT community, Latinos involved in the community that are friends with the community understand that it has been a hard fought battle for all of the members of the community, but especially for minorities within that community that faced a double discrimination sometimes, within the Latino community. People that don't accept their lifestyle or don't agree with it. As you said, it's become more open and people are starting to understand more about the community and they're members.
On services available in Spanish for those affected:
Cultural competence is just another component of this tragedy for every healthcare provider and for people involved as a first responder, the fact that they could just speak Spanish or that they can help some of the families understand what's happening in their own language at this moment, it's important at this moment, it's a compassionate element of what's going on. And yes, we've seen that from the community here in Orlando. A lot of people know Spanish and know some of their Latino neighbors so they're all trying to help even in a different language, if that’s the case.
Whether or not this shooting feels different from others:
In a way it doesn't, it feels like everything is scripted: how we react, how we learn about what's going on, how politicians or President Obama has to come out and talk about this once again, and we go through this scripted process of grief, anger and frustration, and trying to come up with the right label or the right way to understand things. This case in particular, because of the magnitude and the issues involved in it, add to that the political environment, it does feel a little different.
Enrique Acevedo, news anchor at Univision. He tweets @Enrique_Acevedo.
This segment aired on June 13, 2016.
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