Puerto Rico Unveils Monument to Honor Orlando Victims

Puerto Rico Unveils Monument to Honor Orlando Victims

Last week, Puerto Rico unveiled its first-ever LGBT monument, which simultaneously honors the anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage on the island as well as its remembrance of victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando.

READ: Puerto Ricans On The Island Mourn 23 Killed in Orlando Shooting

The monument is in San Juan's Third Millennium Park, outside of Sixto Escobar Stadium. It has seven cement pillars that are decorated with multi-colored mosaics, representing the LGBT Flag, and also features the coat of arms of Puerto Rico at the front of the leading pillar. The base of the monument lists the 23 names of the Puerto Rican victims, with the other 26 victims’ names listed below them. 

Alongside the names reads in Spanish, "This tribute to life strengthens our commitment to fight hate – the product of homophobia – with love and respect. Our slogan resounds in all our hearts: Love is love, is love, is love..."

The final phrase is in reference to Puerto Rican playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony acceptance speech, where he recited a sonnet dedicated to the victims the night directly after the shooting. 

The monument was designed by Alberto de la Cruz and cost $9,000, which was gathered from the city's tax payers’ funds, according to Noticel.

"Today we celebrate life," said San Juan mayor Carmen Yulín at the monument's inauguration last week during the city's Pride celebration. "We must work together to eradicate discrimination and homophobia. We must raise our voices for justice, and the equality of each of us who are human. We must aspire to have a country where everyone is equal, and no one is judged for who they love."

PLUS: President Obama Meets With Families & Survivors of the Orlando Shooting

This monument represents a beautiful intersection of identities for Puerto Rican members of the LGBT community. While homophobia still exists on the island, this type of acknowledgement could certainly be a step in the right direction.