CHICAGO (CBS) -- Local elected officials, activists, and community groups are reacting to the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
At least 50 people were killed and 53 were wounded when a gunman opened fire inside Pulse nightclub early Sunday. Throughout the day, many have been offering words of support for the victims.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel:
"Last night's horrifying act of terrorism in Orlando was an attack on our most fundamental values as Americans. On behalf of the City of Chicago, Amy and I send our deepest condolences to the friends and family members of those who were lost. June is a time when all Chicagoans and all Americans proudly celebrate the contributions of our LGBT community. This horrendous violence will only deepen our resolve to continue building a society that values everyone, regardless of who they love. The thoughts and prayers of Chicago will remain with the victims of this attack as they seek comfort and courage in the days ahead."
Gov. Bruce Rauner:
"It was heartbreaking to learn about the tragic massacre in Orlando, Florida. To target a community in celebration is deplorable. The State of Illinois stands with those in the State of Florida, and in honor of the victims, I am ordering all flags to be lowered to half-staff immediately. Please join me and Diana in praying for all those affected by this senseless tragedy."
Gay Liberation Network:
"The worst thing that we could do right now is compound a horrible act of anti-LGBT hate by promoting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate. To use this tragedy to promote Trump-like behavior would be despicable. It is a race to the bottom, branding all people in a group, regardless of character, as the enemy.
"As LGBTs we have recently won so many rights -- with the aid of many non-LGBTs of all faiths -- and so it would be unworthy of us to become haters towards any other group of people. We have in our LGBT community many Muslims and immigrants who catch it from both sides -- racist Islamophobes on one side, anti-LGBT bigots on the other. We especially need to stand with them, and stand against scapegoating, period.
"Florida Senator Bill Nelson just a few moments ago said that we need to not be "hyphenated Americans, but stand together as Americans." Sorry Mr. Senator, but this was an apparent anti-gay attack. Disregarding that fact is to disregard the hate that has been promoted by anti-gay political and religious leaders of both parties, especially in the American South.
"With a presidential candidate making it his calling card, Islamophobia is also a huge threat. Until we stand together not as Americans, but as human beings regardless of race, nationality or religion, and confront what our own leaders are doing to perpetuate this cycle of violence, whether scapegoating groups or serial bombings of other countries, it will not end."
Archbishop Blase Cupich:
"Our prayers and hearts are with the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, their families and our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
"We are grateful to the first responders and civilians who heroically put themselves in harm's way, providing an enduring reminder of what compassion and bravery look like--even in the face of such horror and danger.
"In response to hatred, we are called to sow love. In response to violence, peace. And, in response to intolerance, tolerance.
"The people of the Archdiocese of Chicago stand with the victims and their loved ones, and reaffirm our commitment, with Pope Francis, to address the causes of such tragedy, including easy access to deadly weapons. We can no longer stand by and do nothing."
Rev. Jesse Jackson:
"The Sunday morning massacre in Orlando, Fl., today was a blatant act of terror. Whether it was inspired by foreign ideologies or domestic hatreds, we do not yet know.
"Whatever the twisted motivation turns out to be for the most lethal mass shooting in U.S. history, we must end, once and for all, the shamefully easy access to guns that is killing so many Americans.
"We owe it to the 20 first graders and their teachers gunned down at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. in 2012, we owe to the 14 people killed at an office holiday party in San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015, we owe it to the 31 college students slaughtered in Blacksburg, Va., in 2007 and the list goes on.
"Gun violence is a national epidemic, an international disgrace. This past May in Chicago, 66 people were slain, almost all by guns. More than 300 others were shot and wounded.
"We must enact sensible gun control laws and enforce them. It is past time to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, such as the one used this morning at the Pulse nightclub to kill 50 people and send 53 others to the hospital, many in critical condition.
"We must choose futures over funerals and stop the flow of guns."
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle:
"The horrific massacre in Orlando is another unfortunate example of how hate and intolerance have no place in a civil and caring society. My condolences go out to the families and friends of all who were caught up in this senseless act of violence. Our strength as a nation is our diversity, and as such we must promote respect, education and tolerance so that we are not confronted with yet another sad chapter in what has become an all-too-common tale of bloodshed in recent years."
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk:
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this hateful terrorist act that targeted the Orlando gay community. Gunman Omar Mateen's motivations remind us of the immediate threat the Islamic State poses to our country and the need for swift action to protect Americans from future attacks here at home."
U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth:
"Today's hateful terror attack at Orlando's Pulse nightclub--a mass shooting targeting our LGBTQ community during this year's pride celebrations--is absolutely heartbreaking and profoundly cowardly. My condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, their friends and their loved ones today."
"I also wish to thank the law enforcement officials, first responders and all those who acted with bravery, courage and heroism in the face of the most deadly shooting in our nation's history. They represent the America I fought to defend. As the President reminded the American people just moments ago, we must stand united as Americans, love one another and never turn against each other in the face of fear."
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin:
"This morning's mass shooting was the worst in American history. 50 people were massacred and dozens more injured when a heavily armed man opened fire on innocent people. My thoughts and deepest condolences are with the victims and their loved ones, and I stand in solidarity with the LGBT community in Orlando and across America. These mass shootings follow an increasingly tragic script: the public is heartbroken and outraged, first responders and law enforcement do their grim duty, and Congress proposes a slew of policy proposals and argues over whether any of them could have prevented the last tragedy. But when the debates end and nothing has changed, Congress makes itself complicit in the next killing. We have the power to act, and we must. The bottom line is that we allow dangerous people to buy guns in America and that has got to change. In the coming days, Congress must take a stand against hate, terrorism, and this horrific gun violence."
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky:
"The lives of at least fifty brothers, daughters, sons, parents, and children were taken senselessly and suddenly today. It is difficult to find words to describe the grief and shock that I share with Americans across the country who watch and wait for more news coming out of Orlando today. I stand in solidarity with the victims of last night's horrible attack, their loved ones, and the LGBT community.
"Although at this early stage we are still waiting for details to emerge from the scene, we do know that this attack was motivated by hatred and a lack of empathy and understanding. It is crucial that we as a society come together to eradicate the barriers of discrimination that divide us and spur tragedies like the one we have witnessed today. Our culture must be purged of the kind of discourse and behavior that feeds off of division, and instead work to become the inclusive and diverse society that is inherent in the American promise.
"This by no means is to say that a change in hearts and minds is all that we need to end the scourge of mass shootings and large-scale attacks. Pragmatic legislative solutions are required. Sensible gun safety measures are long overdue. Their presence may not eradicate violence and lawlessness in our country, but it can certainly make it more difficult for the individuals who would carry out these acts to do so. Additionally, since certain reports indicate that this attack may have been motivated by the actions of the Islamic State, we must continue our efforts to combat global terrorism abroad and at home."
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley:
"I woke, along with the rest of the nation, to the horrific news of tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. My heart aches for those killed and wounded in this senseless and deadly attack. While many questions remain, we do know that this is the deadliest mass shooting in American history, which targeted innocent men and women just hoping to spend a night out with friends. And an attack at Pulse nightclub, a well known gathering spot for LGBT Floridians, during LGBT Pride Month is particularly painful for the LGBT community and allies around the world. At this time, we must all come together and combat this horrific act of hate with love and compassion for one another."
Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa:
"I have a heavy heart and tear filled eyes as I grieve for the victims and families of Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub. I am so moved by the Floridians waiting in line to donate blood for the 53 wounded. In the wake of this tragedy, much will be said on gun control, homophobia, Islamophobia, policies we must change, but nothing will bring back our 50 sisters and brothers. Despite our inability to bring back our 50 sisters and brothers, despite our inability to undo this hateful terror attack, we must continue to imagine and build a world full of love for all people."
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