Hillary Clinton paid an emotional visit to the site of Pulse nightclub in Orlando Friday after meeting with victims’ families and community leaders earlier in the day.
Clinton visited the makeshift memorial at the site alongside Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer and state Sen. Bill Nelson. Together, they added a bouquet of white roses to the ever-expanding collection of tributes.
Before her trip to the memorial, Clinton met with the families of the victims of the June 12 mass shooting. Afterwards, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee gathered with local community leaders for a roundtable discussion about the attack and the work that needs to be done to protect those groups most affected by it.
“I’m really here to listen to what your experiences have been,” Clinton said during the meeting.
“We need to acknowledge and be very clear who this attack targeted,” Clinton continued. “The Latino LGBT community by any measure was the community that was the most severely impacted by this terrible attack.”
“It is still dangerous to be LGBT in America. It is an unfortunate fact but one that needs to be said.”
Coming in the wake of this past week’s Republican National Convention, in which the GOP touted the most anti-LGBT platform in the party’s history, Clinton’s remarks held a special weight for the group of activists gathered at the meeting.
In addition to Clinton, the group included Equality Florida’s Carlos Guillermo-Smith and Ida Eskamani, Imam Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Terry DeCarlo, of The Center and Orlando SWAT Capt. Mark Canty.
“We have to be willing to stand as one and demand changes from lawmakers at the federal, state and local level. We have a lot of work ahead of us,” added Clinton.
After her statement, those assembled commended Clinton for not politicizing the event and for allowing the community time to grieve before coming to pay her respects. As Orlando city commissioner Patty Sheehan put it, “Thank you for…waiting until we were ready.”
Following her visit to Orlando, Clinton boarded a plane for a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa before heading to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.