PALM SPRINGS, Ca.
There were heartfelt cheers and real emotion during KMIR’s panel event meant to bring unity after the terrorist attack in Orlando that took the lives of 49 people, most of them members of the LGBT community.
Leaders, from national, city, law enforcement, religious and the LGBT community, discussed important topics surrounded by the people they affect. The discussion quickly turned towards gun control.
"If we waited for the federal government we would still be able to be fired from our jobs here in California for being gay so we can’t wait we have to act locally and on a state level and push Congress to do it federally once and for all," said Palm Springs council member Geoff Kors,
"I’m hoping and fighting that this will be the threshold so that we can finally act and get this done," said Congressman Raul Ruiz (D) 36th Dist.
"Standing United" was broadcast from the heart of Downtown Palm Springs on Arenas Road, a gathering place for the LGBT community. The panel discussed some tough issues including the role of religion.
"Regardless of who they are as Muslims we are commanded to stand up for justice wherever we think that needs to be you know people like ISIS … it’s a political movement. It has zero to do with religion and it has everything to do with politics," said Imam Reymundo Nour of the Islamic Center of Palm Springs.
"We need to actually move from this seeking just to tolerate but to seek to actually love and embrace," said Father Andrew Green, of the Church of St. Paul in the Desert.
And while some of the discussion got uncomfortable at times. Most agreed it’s necessary to move forward and heal.
"The community that I face everyday, my friends, my family, that we’re all struggling with this on an emotional level," said Palm Springs resident Bill Seals who attended the event with friends.
"It is very important and it’s a great step," says Glenn Robinson of Palm Desert who attended "Standing United" with his husband.
KMIR’s news director David Reese says this call to action won’t end after this event, "We’re going to bring them all back to this spot in three months, which ironically will be the day after 9-11, to talk more about what some people are calling the ‘gay 9-11’."
Because words and actions, when combined, are powerful and poetic as Ralph Perry recites from memory a poem he wrote about Orlando, "Can good come from evil, sad a never ending quest, but now in somber silence we lay our dead to rest."