Orlando tragedy

LGBT and American flag

June 12, 2016

Dear Members of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Community:

It is with a sense of horror, sadness and outrage that we learn today of the worst mass shooting on US soil in recent history — in Orlando FL, where at least 50 are dead and more than 50 others are wounded. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this brutal atrocity, an event of terror and hate which targeted a nightclub popular with LGBT people during LGBT Pride Month.

As President Obama said today, an attack on any person living in the US — regardless of their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us.

This attack yet again shows how important it is to make it more difficult for people to acquire guns.

Please join us in reaching out to members of the LGBT community who will feel particularly upset and threatened by this terrible event. To provide support and solidarity, and to remember those who have died or been injured, we will have a memorial reflection tomorrow (Monday) at 12:15 PM in the Kresge courtyard. We hope you will attend.

Staff members in the Office of Student Affairs can offer support and help students experiencing distress as a result of this event gain access to mental health services. Please contact Leah Kane at (617) 432-0488, or via email at leah_kane@harvard.edu.

For faculty and staff who may be struggling with the impact of this event, please contact Linda Picard in Human Resources, or Mahy El-Kouedi in Faculty Affairs. Faculty and staff may also contact Harvard’s Employee Assistance Program for additional support and resources at 1-877-327-4278 (1-877-EAP-HARV).

Yours in sorrow,

David Hunter, MBBS, MPH, ScD
Acting Dean
Dean for Academic Affairs

Michelle A. Williams, SM, ScD
Dean Designate

 photo: iStockphoto.com

This message was updated on June 14 to note that this is the worst mass shooting in recent US history.  Mass killings of indigenous populations occurred on US soil on multiple occasions prior to the modern era.