Hundreds gather at Vancouver Art Gallery for Orlando victims
'Our Pulse is strong,' 'Vancouver with Orlando' and other signs of solidarity held at candle light vigil
Hundreds of people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to reflect and mourn the victims of a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida at a gay nightclub Sunday morning that left 50 dead and another 53 injured.
"Well we definitely want to stand as a united front. We don't want the tragic events in Florida to silence our voices," said Alan Jernigan, president of the Vancouver Pride Society.
"The events that we've seen are an indication that there is still hate in the world directed towards the LGBTQ2 community and this event has received a lot of attention and rightfully so and I think that we can take this opportunity to acknowledge that there are still a lot of members of our community ... who experience violence on a regular basis," he said.
Moment of silence for the victims. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StandWithOrlando?src=hash">#StandWithOrlando</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OrlandoVigilVancouver?src=hash">#OrlandoVigilVancouver</a> <a href="https://t.co/73JpQwJlAA">pic.twitter.com/73JpQwJlAA</a>—@vancouverpride
"Any time a man is afraid to kiss his husband in public because he doesn't know how people will react around him or anytime a woman doesn't want to hold her wife's hand in public because they feel they have to read the room or hide themselves it's a kind of terror and a kind of fear and this has to change," added Jernigan.
Michala Leslie, who is active in the LGBTQ community, brought her mother Ashley to the vigil.
"I'm mourning the loss 50 lives and 53 people being injured and we're here hoping that this will change that all this hate will come out and this hate will turn into love," she said.
Meanwhile others like Kevin Michael Perry and Toby Alderan were emotional when speaking about the events in Florida.
"Never in our lifetimes have we ever, ever witnessed such tragedy, because really we're all connected and we want to make sure that everyone knows that this can't happen anymore. It really can't," said Perry.
"I'm just really glad that everyone who feels something for Orlando is here and if they can't make it, they're here in spirit, I know that."
Gary Paterson, a United Church minister was one of several people who addressed the crowd asking them to say no to hatred.
"No to the killing, offering our tears and our determination that we will keep moving forward in love," he said.
Hundreds have gathered for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OrlandoVigilVancouver?src=hash">#OrlandoVigilVancouver</a> at the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/VAG?src=hash">#VAG</a> tonight. Community is the theme. <a href="https://t.co/LvxTDDld2p">pic.twitter.com/LvxTDDld2p</a>—@anitabathe
with files from Anita Bathe