I know that you were expecting a comic update today.  But I felt the need to do something different.

I wanted to post this sooner, but in truth, I found myself struggling with the words.

As you all know by now, on Sunday June 12, 2016, the Pulse Club, a popular gay club in Orlando Florida was the location of a horrifying act of violence against the LGBTQ community.  You see, what started as a regular night of fun, drinks and dancing, ended when 50 gay, bisexual and even straight men and women were murdered in cold blood, while an additional 53 were left injured.

103 people were harmed that night.

The LGBTQ community is no stranger to acts of hatred and bigotry.  For as far back as anyone can remember, we have heard stories, or witnessed first hand acts of hatred against us solely for who we loved, or for how we self-identified ourselves. We know the stories of Harvey Milk, and Matthew Shepard and countless others.  We’ve suffered through political legistlation that has denied us basic human rights. We have been bullied in our schools.  We have been called every offensive word that hateful people could come up with. And yes, we have suffered violence.  We have been abused.  We have been beaten. We have been killed.  We have been made to fear for our lives every day.

But June 12th was something different.  Because this was something bigger.  This was something that the entire world could not ignore.

This event has been labeled as the “Worst Mass Shooting in the History of the United States”.  And it was directed at US.  The gays, the lesbians, the transgenders, the bisexuals, and all the many other men and woman and others who make up the LGBTQ community.  We were the targets.  We were again made the victims of violence.

The month of June is known across the country as Pride Month.  A time made to both celebrate being a member of the LGBTQ community, but more importantly, to remember the continuing struggle that we have suffered. Furthermore, in Los Angles, this was weekend was the official Pride festival for the city.  But because of the actions in Florida, and another near act of violence, many people found themselves fearful of attending pride.

And I sit here, and beg you: DON’T DO THAT.

Do not let fear control you. Do not let fear make you afraid to celebrate with your friend and loved ones. Do not let fear keep you from coming out.  Do not let fear keep you from being who you are.

Remember, that the LGBTQ community is just that. A community. We are unified together under our shared histories, our stories, our desire to love and be loved.  We are bound together through love and pain.  And together we are stronger than anyone realizes.

Love is love.  Love will win.

Find those in your life who support and love you, and remind them that you love and support them too.Shake hands with your allies.  Hug you family. Kiss you lover.

Be happy.

Be safe.

Be the community that will not let fear break us.

Do not let angry and fear darken your hearts.

We are strong.

Together.

And please, take a moment to remember those who we lost.