Standing together against violence and hate

June 13, 2016
L. Rafael Reif, President, 2012–2022 |

To the members of the MIT community,

On Saturday, more than 80 members of our community marched in the Boston Pride parade, openly celebrating the rights of those who identify as LGBTQ to be fully themselves in the world.

Hours later, in Orlando, Florida, 49 people from the LGBTQ community, many of them Latino and people of color, people who were also celebrating the fullness of their identities, lost their lives to violence and hate.

The shocking contrast reminds us to treasure the openness we strive for in our own community and to cherish every individual, as we reject the impulse to answer hate with hate.

For all of us, this is a terrible moment, and our hearts go out to the injured, the victimized and everyone who loves them. I know this is anguishing for MIT's LGBTQ community, and I expect it may also carry special pain for those in our community who are Muslim, Latino or people of color, as well as those with ties to Orlando.

So that we may express our support for everyone affected, and draw strength and consolation from each other, Director and Assistant Director of LGBTQ Services Abigail Francis and Julio Oyola and the MIT Chaplains have organized a vigil on campus:

Vigil for the victims of the Orlando tragedy
Tuesday, June 14
5PM Gather on the steps of the Student Center (W20)
Silent procession, via Walker Memorial (Bldg. 50)
6PM Discussion in Memorial Lobby (Bldg.10)

If you or those around you would benefit from guidance and support, I urge you to reach out to any of our relevant resources, including Abigail and Julio, the MIT Chaplains, ICEO Ed Bertschinger, and MIT Medical's Mental Health services. I also urge supervisors across MIT to understand if, in light of these events, employees need time to grieve.

In sorrow and solidarity,

L. Rafael Reif