Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black is urging the LGBT community to join forces with other groups fighting for gun law limits. (Matt Sayles / Associated Press)

Mainstream media outlets may have settled on their chosen narratives about the June 12 massacre at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub, and the frenetic news cycle may have moved through and past that event already, but “Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has offered his reasons to pause and consider the ongoing stories behind the tragedy.

Black, who is currently at work on “When We Rise,” a television series for ABC that traces the history of the LGBT rights movement, put the Pulse nightclub attack in a broader perspective than those in play in some recent explanations that have pitted terrorism, homophobia and gun control against each other in a bid for single-issue dominance.

READ: Dustin Lance Black Speaks: Pasadena City College Officials Created ‘Toxic and Dishonest’ Atmosphere

Below is an excerpt from Black’s essay, entitled “Disarm Hate” (via People magazine):

We must also act in more immediate ways that will protect not only LGBT people, but all citizens. My LGBT community has experienced the same kind of senseless violence that schoolchildren and their families have experienced, and that communities of color have suffered for generations. If there is one shining light in the darkness of our mourning, it is that we are not alone in this fight, and the time has come for LGBT people to join hands with others who have also suffered and demand gun control now.

Last year, when a religious extremist attacked people at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade, it was a tragic event, but because of Israel’s strict gun-control laws, the attacker used a knife instead of an assault rifle. He injured five people and killed one 16-year-old girl. It’s not that he had any less hatred than the Orlando shooter. It’s not that he didn’t try to murder many more. It’s that he couldn’t. He didn’t have the tools to do so. But in America, we give people with bloodlust and hate in their hearts the means to end dozens of lives per minute – and we allow the purchase of such heinous military-grade weapons to remain legal.

When Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person elected to public office in California, he had more than the LGBT community to thank. His victory came due to the broad support he built – one that united gays and lesbians with firefighters, construction workers, racial minorities, and seniors. By uniting a diverse group behind shared values and aims, Harvey Milk created a “coalition of the us’s” that couldn’t be stopped politically. It is time for the LGBT community to join into such a coalition again and wield our newfound political power in conjunction with groups already engaged in the fight against guns – groups such as the Brady Campaign, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Americans for Responsible Solutions – with parents from Sandy Hook, families from San Bernardino, and communities of color who have suffered similar tragedies for far too long.

It will, unfortunately, be a long road to eradicate the lies and hatred that inspire people to target our brothers and sisters, our children, parents, and our loved ones, but it must be traveled together. As Harvey Milk taught us long ago, in a “coalition of the us’s” we have the political power to disarm hatred. We owe it to the victims of Orlando, of Charleston, of Newtown – and far too many more – to do just that. It is time to disarm hate.

“When We Rise” is scheduled to air in 2017 as an eight-hour miniseries.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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