Locals denounce club killings, intolerance toward LGBT community

Supervisor Robert Rivas makes statements on the issue at Tuesday's board meeting, as shown in this screen shot from CMAP.

Supervisor Robert Rivas led a group of public officials and residents Tuesday in denouncing the massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub.
Rivas and others at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting not only denounced the shooter’s actions, but also expressed support for some type of future county resolution addressing the issue.
Rivas stressed how the early-Sunday shooting incident—which resulted in deaths of 49 victims and the suspect, according to media reports—had affected local families. He mentioned himself having a family member who is gay, and noted how President Obama called the shootings an act of terrorism and homophobia.
He said such discrimination is rooted in how people raise their children.
“Intolerance breeds intolerance,” Rivas said.
He said the two choices for people are intolerance or acceptance. Rivas said he wants to send a message to the LGBT community locally, through creation of some kind of group and county-endorsed message.
“I support you and I stand with you,” he said. “You don’t have to live in the shadows in San Benito County any longer.”
Rivas announced the creation of a subcommittee comprised of himself and Supervisor Margie Barrios to talk about possible action.
Barrios was among public officials who spoke out.
“I think we do have to step it up as a board of supervisors,” Barrios said, referring to calls from speakers at the meeting for the county to do more on the issue of intolerance toward the LGBT community. “It’s a very brave thing for a lot of folks to come forward and ask those requests.”
She had been referring to several residents who spoke during public comment of the meeting. One of those was Hollister resident Omar Vasquez, who said his heart and condolences went out to victims and their families, and lauded first-responders. Vasquez pointed out that this is National LGBT Pride Month.
“The long-sought battle for equality continues,” he said. “As a member of this community and the LGBT community, I urge everyone to stand strong against hate and violence.”
Hollister resident Gregory Rivera spoke Tuesday as well and mentioned how he was involved in the 2008 effort to legalize same-sex marriage in California.
“This isn’t a choice,” he said. “We have to realize that LGBT people have been here since the creation of man.”
Rivera shared his views on certain guns, too, such as the semi-automatic assault rifle used in the Orlando killings.
“You don’t need an AR-15 to hunt,” he said. “We do need to ban those guns.”
Hollister’s Marty Richman spoke on the topic, but underscored how the problem reflected in Orlando goes beyond the LGBT issue. He advised people to condemn terrorism acted out anywhere, against anybody, and mentioned how there had been another terrorist act in France since the Orlando shootings.
“Terrorism is a problem worldwide,” he said.

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