Vigils Across the East Bay Held in Honor of the Losses from the Orlando Shooting

By Jun S.  Published Oct 18th, 2016

As the Bay Area prepares for Pride celebrations, citizens across the Bay mourn the tragic loss of 50 innocent lives within the LGBTQ community to the recent shooting in Orlando, recorded to be the most devastating mass shooting in US history. An Oakland Out for Orlando vigil was held at Oakland’s City Hall on Sunday, June 12th, honoring the memory victims of the shooting as members of the Bay Area community gather in unity and solidarity against hatred in the face of this tragic event.

The organizer of Sunday’s vigil and co-chair of Oakland’s Pride activities, Carlos Uribe, expresses grief as Oakland citizens mourn their loss.

“Please take care of yourself, allow yourself to mourn, to grieve, to be angry, to feel,” he said in a statement.

As gun violence proves rampant across the country, American citizens face each day with the reality of these events. Both members of LGBTQ and Muslim-American communities are deeply affected by these acts of terrorism and are left heartbroken by hatred seated in homophobic and Islamophobic beliefs. While progress in the country was made in the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, LGBTQ individuals still face difficult circumstances in their fight for acceptance while Muslim-Americans have openly condemned acts of hatred and denounced violence made in the name of their faith.

Mayor Libby Schaaf pledged Oakland in support of the LGBTQ community.

“I vow to keep fighting and call on all leaders to find real solutions to the epidemic of violence in our city and our nation," she said in a statement. "We can and must do more.”

As Oakland celebrates Pride Night at the Coliseum on Tuesday, the Oakland A’s will hold a vigil at 7:00pm by replacing the ceremonial first pitch with a silent tribute as fans and members of the local LGBTQ community place the ceremonial first pitch ball on the mound in remembrance of the shooting’s victims and in honor of those affected by the this tragic loss. The Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus will be performing the national anthem.

Another vigil will be held at 7:00pm in Fremont’s Veterans Memorial Park, Walnut Avenue and Paseo Padre Parkway hosted by the Tri-City Interfaith Council and the Tri-City Alameda County Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

As the community binds together, Bay Area citizens have expressed refusal to allow violence and terrorism rule over the community and continue to celebrate Pride without fear.