NYSNA nurses held a tribute to the victims of the devastating Orlando shooting at our June 23 Patient Advocacy Conference and pledged to fight against hatred and gun violence. Marva Wade, RN and NYSNA First Vice President, opened the program with a call for unity against hate and violence and then introduced a video commemorating the lives of the women and men killed in Orlando with each of their photos and names.
Reverend Pat Bumgardner delivered a non-denominational invocation paying homage to the victims in Orlando, Charleston, San Bernardino, Sandy Hook and other recent mass shootings.
“Our lives have to be about more than praying for the dead and patching up the living,” said Reverend Bumgardner. “I invoke the power we hold to stand up against bigotry and violence.”
Stacyann Chin, a poet who fled her home country because she was persecuted as a lesbian, shared a poem via Skype calling on the LGBT community and allies to stand together to stop gun violence. “Today — and every day moving forward,” said Ms. Chin, “I dare you to choose love!”
We shall overcome
NYSNA member Pauline Williams, RN, led the room in an emotional rendition of “We Shall Overcome” as the lights dimmed and nurses lit glow sticks at their tables.
Anne Bové, RN and President of NYSNA’s NYC H+H Executive Council, shared her memories of the public hospital response to the tragedy of 9/11. “For nurses and first responders, many of us living and working in New York City, the memories of the violence and horror of 9/11 are still fresh,” said Ms. Bové. “To the nurses, doctors, EMTs, aides, and other caregivers of Orlando Regional Med. Ctr., we understand and thank you for your compassionate and tireless work over these harrowing days.”
Jenny Curtis, a NYSNA member at Hospice and Palliative Care and at St. Elizabeth concluded, “We will not let the dream die. We will stand side by side for hope, equality and, greatest of all, love.”