Hundreds Gather To Honor Orlando Victims At City Hall
The world showed today that terrorism will not break people apart, but rather, bring them closer together. Vigils were held throughout the globe to honor the 49 people who were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, including hundreds of Angelenos who united to show their support on Monday at a vigil outside of LA City Hall.
Signed posters and flowers were laid out at the steps of City Hall, and candles were passed out to the emotional crowd. One man set out purple and gold blankets and performed a spiritual routine as he passed out incense sticks.
Various members of the LGBTQ community addressed the crowd, including musical artist Lady Gaga.Though she had trouble talking through her tears, Gaga read some of the names of those who were killed in the massacre, including people as young as 18 and as old as 49. The crowd listened with heavy hearts as tears streamed down their faces.
Jose Carlos, who was wrapped in an LGBT flag, said, “It could’ve been my friends. It could’ve been someone I knew and I think that’s the scary part. It could’ve been any of us.”
This mass shooting, the biggest ever to take place on American soil, has reignited the conversation around gun violence and gun control.
“When Sandy Hook happened, and [it was] politically shut down, that’s when I was like ‘Oh, so this is just gonna be okay now,’” said Kevin Chase, who was in attendance at the Los Angeles vigil. “And it’s so unique to this country.”
While the world mourns, they also seek a solution. Army veteran Tracey Cooper-Harris, said, “I don’t think that a ban on assault weapons is gonna be the answer. There has to be a happy medium. I love this country, it’s great, but I really wish that we could learn from our past.”
On the other end of the spectrum, there was Antonio Gonzalez, a visibly upset vigil-attendee who said, “I believe that assault weaponry has no place in the United States at all.Those kinds of weapons are designed only to harm [masses of] people. That they’re permitted doesn’t make sense.”
A large rainbow flag was signed by hundreds in the crowd and draped over the steps leading to the doors of City Hall. At the conclusion of the night, a large group lined up and marched around the building chanting “One Pulse” to symbolize their unity. While spirits were still considerably low by the end of the event, the strength and willingness to help each other move forward was indisputable. In a message to the families of the Orlando shooting victims, vigil-attendee Maggie Cooper-Harris said: “You are not alone.”