Deputy Chief of Mission Dean Thompson at the Diversity March

Deputy Chief of Mission Dean Thompson at the Diversity March. Bucharest, June 25, 2016 (Carmen Valica / Public Diplomacy Office)
Deputy Chief of Mission Dean Thompson at the Diversity March. Bucharest, June 25, 2016 (Carmen Valica / Public Diplomacy Office)

It’s been nearly two weeks since nearly 50 people were slaughtered in Orlando.  And that is nowhere near enough time for healing or for moving beyond the terrible realization of that day’s events.  The memories of those who were lost will, above all, live on in the minds and the hearts of their loved ones long after the killer’s name is forgotten.  These victims had their futures stolen, their dreams stolen, their contributions to society stolen from us all in one horrible act.

No words can rid us of this sense of tragedy, but our gathering here today at events like this all over the world can help everyone feel less alone.  It helps to know that acts of terror and hate rarely achieve their purpose beyond the immediate horror they generate.  Whether those actions stem from bigotry, from insecurity, from fear, or from weakness, they are profoundly misguided because they prompt good people to close ranks in opposition to the very viciousness and bile the killers hope to spread.

We saw that in Orlando. And we saw it around the world in the many messages of solidarity that the United States received from people in cities like Paris, Madrid, Mexico City, Tokyo, Brasilia, and Nairobi.  And, of course, here in Bucharest, where many members of the LGBTI community came to the Embassy with wreaths and flowers and messages of hope and messages of condolence and thank you so much for those expressions and we share this sense of loss and tragedy with you all.

Let me tell you one simple truth, one that has made the United States the beloved home of its citizens:  A successful society is one that clearly understands and cherishes the role and contribution of every single one of its members, irrespective of their allegiance to a creed, their life philosophy, or their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Our society’s richness comes with what each and every one of us can bring for the benefit of the rest.

And today, here in Bucharest, I am happy to see a likeminded community of free people, the proud community of LGBTI in Romania and their supporters.  I know you are making your contribution to what Romania is today and, more importantly, what Romania will be tomorrow.  For tomorrow can always be more free than today.  So let’s work together to achieve this, because everyone should have the chance to be free and proud.  Thank you!