It’s been more than 24 hours since Omar Mateen opened fired at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, and killed 49. Occurring on a Latino-themed night, this attack is an especially big blow to LGBTQ communities of color, which already suffer violence at disproportionate rates. In 2012, 73.1 percent of anti-LGBTQ homicide victims were people of color – with black/African Americans accounting for 54 percent and Latinos for 15 percent, according to Colorlines.
Although news reports tie the shooter’s motives to Islamic extremism – a message that became amplified when the media covered that he pledged his allegiance to ISIS – it’s necessary to remember that he targeted two marginalized communities. And while some are too busy poisoning our feeds with Islamophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric, others have come together to honor those lost in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. From Lin-Manuel Miranda’s powerful “Love is Love” sonnet at the Tony’s to the viral hashtag #WeAreOrlando, the outpouring of love has been a constant stream. A community fund has also been created to financially support the victims’ families during this difficult period.
One of the most visible ways people are showing solidarity is through vigils, which started on Sunday and will continue in the following days. Here are five cities where you can participate and stand up to hate:
As panic and confusion hit the Central Florida city, the government asked people to not organize vigils right away. But in Orlando – where many lined up to donate blood for the more than 50 wounded – people showed up to the event Mitch Foster organized at Lake Eola on Sunday night. “We needed to be here because we needed to show the rest of the world that we’re not going to let terror dictate what our actions are,” Foster said. “We’ve all been defeated today. We’re hurting really, really bad. Our friends, our family, our loved ones, some of them have been brutally murdered. And we’re confused and we’re mad.”
Stonewall Inn’s 1969 uprising against discriminatory policing made the legendary bar the obvious choice for a vigil. On Sunday night, people gathered to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and to proudly fly the rainbow flag. An official vigil – where prominent LGBTQ+ activists, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Mayor Bill de Blasio will stand in solidarity – will take place tonight at 7 p.m. ET at Stonewall Inn. 53 Christopher St., New York, NY 10014
In Long Island, the LGBT Network will host a candlelight vigil starting at 7 p.m. ET 34 Park Ave, Bay Shore, New York 11706
During DC Pride on Sunday, the LGBTQ+ community stood up against gun violence and honored the victims of the Orlando mass shooting. One person held a sign that read, “This is not normal.” As the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. sang “We Shall Overcome,” the crowd wiped away tears.
On Wednesday, The DC Center will honor the victims. More than 400 people are expected to attend the event, which starts at 6:30 p.m ET. 2000 14th St. NW, #105, Washington, DC 20009
During L.A.’s Pride Parade this weekend, parade-goers honored the victims with “We are Orlando” painted in black on their backs.
Tonight, the Los Angeles LGBT Center will host a vigil at the Los Angeles City Hall. “We cannot allow this hateful, murderous incident to silence us,” the event page notes. “Yes, we must express our grief and anger. But we must also make it clear that we will NOT be deterred by hate and violence, and that we celebrate in defiance of bigotry and fear. We stand for peace. We stand for community. We stand for Orlando.”
The rally will start at 7 p.m. PT. 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Last night the City of Miami Beach organized a vigil, where thousands flooded to support the Orlando victims. CBS 4’s Hank Tester said that before 7 p.m., it didn’t appear that there’d be a large crowd. Attendees filled almost half of Soundscape Park and held flickering candles as they sang John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Pridelines will host an event today from noon to 10 p.m. 6360 N.E. 4th Court, Miami, Florida 33138
If you want to find a vigil in your area, visit weareorlando.org for more locations.