Blood drive for Orlando victims held at SUNY Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Thousands of people flocked to medical centers to donate blood for victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting, which inspired local college students to do the same.

They are not sure where the blood will go, and not all of them can donate, but the SUNY Student Assembly held a blood drive on Wednesday for a very important reason.

“We’re saying in no uncertain terms that the State University of New York and the State University of New York Student Assembly stand in solidarity with the LGBT-plus community and stand in solidarity with Orlando,” SUNY Student Assembly Pres. Marc Cohen said.

Cohen said student assembly members got together and realized they had to do something.

“And we’re not just using words,” he said. “We have people standing with us who are standing with them, and there’s nothing more beautiful than that.”

UAlbany student Megan Haberli has a friend who was one of the victims in the Orlando shooting.

“Even just showing your support for your friends and their friends, that’s important to me,” she said.

But as a member of the LGBT-plus community himself, Cohen could not donate.

“Men who have had sex with men in the last year cannot donate,” he said. “And for the Red Cross, it is ever.”

Cohen said the student assembly recently passed a bill to change the policy to give all the right to donate.

“You shouldn’t discriminate when it comes to doing good,” he said. “Everyone should have the right to donate life; have the right to save a life.”

That support was shown in the community. With a goal of 25 donations, 31 people gave blood on Wednesday, which is enough to save 93 lives.

Along with that, Cohen had a message for the haters.

“We are not afraid of those who inflict harm on others because of who they are and who they love,” he said. “Love is love and the student assembly stands by that 100 percent.”

Cohen said he and the student assembly will continue to fight to change the policy.

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