George Takei Speaks Out Ahead of the Pulse Mass Shooting Anniversary: It 'Shook Me to My Core'
Best known for playing Hikaru Sulu on Star Trek — and for his activism — Takei tweeted, “We all form the pulse of America” after the shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, which killed 49 innocents and injured dozens more.
Now Takei’s gun violence prevention group, One Pulse for America, is releasing an anniversary video, featuring the actor, that remembers each victim by name and calls for a continued push for gun reform.
Takei, 80, founded One Pulse in the wake of the attack at the popular gay club.
“The Pulse shootings shook me to the core,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It brought the human cost of gun violence home for me.”
“After Pulse, I understood the cost to our freedoms as well, as our very right to assemble was under attack,” explains Takei, who is gay. “I knew we as a community had to respond.”
As he says in the video, “It was heartbreaking to see so many precious lives taken and so many families destroyed because of hatred.
“In Orlando, the First Amendment right of the LGBT community to assemble was abrogated by a perverted view of the Second Amendment that allows violent individuals to arm themselves to the teeth — legally.”
Monday’s video ends with a scroll of the names of the 49 victims.
In addition to the video, One Pulse is requesting supporters pay tribute to the dead by attending a local Pride event for the LGBT community this weekend or by traveling to Washington, D.C., where a candlelight vigil will be held Monday night at Dupont Circle.
Tiara Parker will be among the Pulse survivors who will attend memorial events on Monday.
“I will be going to show my support, but otherwise it’ll just be another day,” she told PEOPLE on Friday. “I’ve got to keep pushing.”