Home / Media / ePiñata / December 22, 2016

When Crisis Struck, We Responded

Earlier this year, a late-spring night at one of the most popular dance clubs in Central Florida turned into a scene of unspeakable violence and loss. When a heavily armed shooter walked into the Pulse Nightclub, he was fueled by bigotry and homophobia. Forty-nine individuals—most of them young, Latino and LGBTQ—tragically lost their lives that night.

“This was one of the most difficult moments that I can remember here at HF in a long time,” said Hispanic Federation Senior Vice President Frankie Miranda. “The people in that club were targeted because they were Latino and LGBTQ and we knew, especially given the fact that we had only recently opened an office in Orlando, that we could help.”

Working with local groups in Florida, Hispanic Federation launched Proyecto Somos Orlando, a one-stop wraparound service center providing long-term bilingual and bicultural support to individuals affected by the Pulse shooting. Services include mental health and legal assistance, case management, crisis intervention, and individual and group counseling, among other supportive services. Proyecto also provides education on critical LGBTQ+ issues such as gender identity, sexual orientation and anti-homophobia. Already more than 300 individuals have received services and support through Proyecto Somos Orlando.

“This was an opportunity to not only provide direct aid to the victims and their families,” said Miranda, “it was a chance to change the narrative, and make clear that we are one community.”

Hispanic Federation’s relief efforts in Orlando grew thanks to the generosity of global superstars Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jennifer Lopez, who decided to grant the initial proceeds from their hit song "Love Make The World Go Round" to benefit Proyecto Somos Orlando. For three months, all US iTunes store downloads were donated to the project.