KUNM

Hundreds Gather To Share Heartbreak, Heal After Orlando Shooting

Jun 13, 2016

Just hours after LGBT folks celebrated Albuquerque’s 40th pride on Saturday night, hundreds gathered Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil to commemorate the people who were killed in the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

In this postcard from the vigil, you’ll hear first from Israel Chavez with Equality New Mexico and Cheryl Haase with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America. Also Terra Mckeown, Bridge Taylor and the New Mexico Gay Men’s Chorus.

Israel Chavez, Equality New Mexico:  It was Orlando, but it very easily could have been Albuquerque. I was downtown at a bar last night and that hits close to home. What we cannot do is allow this tragedy to be the scapegoat for racist anti-Muslim or Islamaphobic sentiments, because queer people are Muslim and we are Islamic, too. We will not allow this to be co-opted. The lives of those 50 individuals, and the 50 more that were injured, to be co-opted by any candidate, or campaign, or organization. We know what this was about. It wasn’t about religion. It was about hate.

Cheryl Haase, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America: Last year it was Charleston in an African American church. In the fall it was Planned Parenthood in Colorado. A few years ago, it was a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. These haters target groups. And this now, against the gay LGBTQ community, has been the worst mass shooting in American history. This has to stop.

Terra Mckeown: I’ve been to a lot of vigils in my life. And I swore a long time ago I wouldn’t go anymore. I wanted to celebrate living. But there’s just so many complex feelings, so much going on, that I felt like this would bring up some complex stuff for me, and I really needed to come. And when I saw how many people were here, it just really became about being a part of this community. And it helped me as well as, I was hoping my heart being here might help others.

Bridge Taylor:  Like, we were just here in the park yesterday, sitting over there with people we love, not only fellow queer people, but people that are allies. And just being so happy and celebrating who we are. And we’re back in the same park today mourning the loss. But it’s beautiful above all that, because all these people are coming back together again, to be with each other and stand. And we’re not afraid.