The Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago
ALTA - The Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago


Let's Talk About It

Aquí y Ahora

Aquí y Ahora

By Lucas Garcia

One year ago, I woke up to a message from a friend:

“Honey there was a mass shooting in a gay night club in Florida last night and I can’t stop crying. I’m in shock. It’s Pride month.”

My heart started beating faster and my breath got smaller and smaller as I began to see the reports flood my newsfeed, and as I got more messages from friends, family, loved ones.

How could this happen?

Why would someone do this?

 What can I do?

I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

Slowly the names came out, the count was finalized, and the stories unfolded; heroism, terror, survival, and so much pain. The shockwaves of the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, reverberated through our communities. So many of the people who were killed that night stood at complicated intersections of identity, culture, race and gender, and the fallout from the violence is still being felt to this day. Will always be felt.

We at ALTA wish to memorialize and uplift the names and stories of the 49 people who were killed that night.

We are also including the names of the 12 trans womxn, all of whom were womxn of color, who have been killed this year.

We have included their names here to honor and insist upon their memory, and to mourn collectively with all of you as we commemorate these lives and all of the lives that have been taken in violence inspired by homophobia, transphobia, and racism.

These systems of violence are connected, and they are embedded in almost every aspect of U.S. society, but especially within the state. Police violence toward black and brown bodies, state violence at all levels at home and abroad, and the extremity of neglect and brutality in the prison industrial system are all manifestations of these pervasive cycles. These machines of death overwhelmingly affect LGBTQAI+ and queer people of color, and the violence they enact lives in the intersections just as we do.

 We cannot talk about one thing without talking about the other.

We must also confront the ways that these systems act upon us as people of color, as LGBTQAI+ and queer folx, and how we uphold and perpetuate these systems in our lives, our work, and our spaces.

Today, ALTA is sponsoring a memorial at the Center on Halsted from 6pm-7pm. Please join us as we mourn, celebrate and affirm a commitment to honor these lives with action.

ALTA believes that theater is a location for action, and that as artists we can be agents of radical change. In mourning, in celebration, and in pride, our work has power.

This June, ALTA celebrates the talent and resolve of all our LGTBQAI+ and queer artists, makers, organizers and activists. This city is full of incredible people doing impactful and amazing work, who model new and intentional ways of living, loving, and fighting for justice. You are not alone, and you are loved!  We at ALTA hope always to be a nexus for empowering and advancing the work that you all do in this city, and beyond.

Below we have also gathered just a few of the array of resources and collectives that are fighting for change in Chicago. The work that they do, and their commitment to the health, safety and wellbeing of LGBTQAI+ and queer people is an inspiration to us and to our own work, and we hope that they will be for you too!

There is much to mourn, and there is much to celebrate. Through it all, take care of your selves, take care of each other, and take courage in love.

con cariño,




Kenne McFadden 27

Sherrell Faulkner 46

Brenda Bostick 59

Chay Reed 28

Alphonza Watson 38

Jaquarrius Holland 18

Ciara McElveen 21 

Chyna Gibson 31

Keke Collier 24  

JoJo Striker 23

Mesha Caldwell 41

Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow 28



Stanley Almodovar III 23

Amanda Alvear 25

Oscar Aracena 26

Rodolfo Ayala 33

Antonio Davon Brown 29

Darryl R. Burt II 29

Jonathan Camuy 24

Angel Luis Candelario-Padro 24

Omar Capo 20

Simon Carrillo 31

Luis Daniel Conde 39

Cory James Connell 21

Tevin Eugene Crosby 25

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla 25

Deonka Deidra Drayton 32

Leroy Valentin Fernandez 25

Mercedez Marisol Flores 26

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz 22

Juan Ramon Guerrero 22

Paul Terrell Henry 41

Frankie Hernandez 27

Miguel Angel Honorato 30

Jimmy De Jesús 50

Javier Jorge Reyes 40

Jason Benjamin Josaphat 19

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice 30

Christopher Leinonen 32

Alejandro Barrios Martinez 21

Juan Chavez Martinez 25

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool 49

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez 25

Kimberly Morris 37

Akyra Murray 18

Geraldo Ortiz Jimenez 25

Joel Rayon Paniagua 31

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez 35

Enrique L. Rios 25

Eric Ivan Ortiz Rivera 36

Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez 27

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano 35

Christopher Sanfeliz 24

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan 24

Edward Sotomayor Jr. 34

Shane Evan Tomlinson 33

Martin Benitez Torres 33

Juan Rivera Velazquez 37

Luis Vielma 22

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon 37

Jerald Arthur Wright 31




Read more about these lives here and here.


Groups and Resources:

Chicago LGBT Services: database of Chicago-land LGBT services and agencies.

The Center on Halsted

El Rescate Facebook: Humboldt Park LGBT housing instability resource

Trans Liberation Collective

Youth Empowerment Performance Project



ALTA Chicago