Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

July 1st, 2016

We Are Orlando


Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old.

ChristopherJosephSanfeliz-2Christopher’s family moved from Cuba to Carrollwood, just outside of Tampa, in the 1960s. Christopher graduated from Gaither High School, where one friend who now teaches at the high school remembered him as “the most positive guy I’ve ever known.” They had been in honors classes the marching band, where Christopher played trumpet. After high school, Christopher took several business courses at Hillsborough Community College. In 2013, he was hired as a bank teller and had worked his way up to become a personal banker.

Christopher loved to dance. A friend and ex-boyfriend wrote on Facebook, “I remember you teaching me the basics of Latin dancing and being the first guy I ever danced bachata with. (Best experience ever.)” Christopher told family members that he and a group of friends were going to go to Pulse in Orlando that weekend for Latin Night. So when news of the massacre broke, his father’s phone “was blowing up” on Sunday morning. He drove to Orlando and spent the day at the hospital waiting for word on his son’s fate. When he returned home that night, he knew Christopher was not among the 53 who were injured. That left only one possibility. When a sheriff deputy showed up at his home on Monday morning, he already knew.



Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old.

AlejandroBarrioMartInezs-1Alejandro grew up in Candelaria, Cuba. He lived in Candelaria briefly before moving to Orlando in 2014 to be closer to his father, sister and cousins. Despite still struggling with English, he was nevertheless outgoing and “always had a smile on his face,” said a friend. “He’s the type of person [who would] see you in a parking lot and he’d have a whole conversation with you.”

She often saw Alejandro at Pulse, although she wasn’t there the night of the shooting. At 3:30 a.m., a terrified Alejandro sent a text message to his boyfriend: “I don’t have time to tell you I am in a shooting and can’t leave scared with blood I love you don’t doubt it.” That was followed by another text: “My love, I am afraid of dying.”

His mother was still in Cuba. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) intervened with the U.S. Embassy in Havana, which issued a humanitarian visa so his mother could travel to Orlando. A cousin who is a journalist living in Chile, criticized the condolences offered by Cuban President Raúl Castro for failing that two Cubans were among the victims: “Will he send his condolences to the Cuban families they divided? Some of them today mourn the victims from two countries, unable to embrace.”

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