GLAAD working in Orlando with families affected by gun violence

More than a week following the tragic shooting in Orlando, GLAAD is still on the ground in Orlando. GLAAD is now working with families affected by gun violence prior to Orlando, reaching out to families of the victims and survivors of the Orlando attack.

"GLAAD is pleased to play a part of connecting these families who have experienced tragic gun violence with the victims, survivors, and families here in Orlando as they begin to try to recover from this horrific attack on the LGBT community," said GLAAD Vice President of Programs Zeke Stokes, who is in Orlando with the families.

In addition, GLAAD and this group of families are speaking with media and city leaders about the importance of preventing gun violence and ensuring that the victims, survivors and their families are never forgotten. 

These are the families working with GLAAD on the ground in Orlando:

  1. Sandy and Lonnie Phillips (representing Aurora): Sandy and Lonnie are the mother and stepfather of 24-year-old daughter Jessica Ghawi, who was murdered in the Aurora Theater shooting on July 20, 2012: 12 killed; 70 injured.
  2. Amardeep Kaleka (representing Oak Creek Sikh Temple shooting): His father, Satwant Kaleka Singh, was the founder/head of the temple who saved the lives of others in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on August 5, 2012: 6 killed; 4 injured.
  3. Eric and May Kay Mace (representing Northern Illinois University shooting): Their 19-year-old daughter Ryanne was murdered in the mass shooting on the NIU Campus in Dekalb on February 14, 2008: 5 killed; 21 injured.
  4. Lori Hanky Haas (representing Virginia Tech): Lori's daughter Emily was shot twice in the head and survived in the shooting on April 16, 2007: 32 killed; 23 injured.
  5. Erin Nikitchyuk (representing Newtown): Erin is the mother of Bear who escaped violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012: 26 killed (20 children, 6 educators); 2 injured.
  6. Bob Weiss (representing Isla Vista, CA mass shooting): His 19 year-old daughter Veronika was killed in the shooting on May 23, 2014: 6 killed; 14 injured.