So often it’s the names of the perpetrators of violence we hear the most. Their phones are taken in as evidence and dissected, their public profiles trolled, their personal photos splashed across news headlines. We hear the shooter’s name over and over again.
But I don’t want to read about the killer. I want to remember the victims. I want to see their faces, big, bright, life-filled, and happy. I want to think of them as individuals, as humans, not anonymous victims. Not as the object of an action.
Friday morning, the Human Rights Campaign unveiled a moving tribute to those individuals at its building on Rhode Island Avenue, Northwest. Starting before dawn, the group began installing a floor-to-ceiling portrait of each individual slain in the attack in each of its eight floors of windows facing 17th Street. Collectively, the faces of students, siblings, lovers, people lost this week in the Orlando shootings look out over our nation’s capital. Below each of the 49 faces at is the simple message “We are Orlando,” but behind the tribute is a another message: Compassion lives here.