Culture / Newsy

Orlando Mass Shooting Victims Feel the Love From Houston

Texas’ Biggest City Stands Up Against Hate

BY Steven Hempel // 06.17.16

Life is often about balance, things get out of place, and we try to put them back. There are different ways of going about it, and different degrees of problems. Some are subtle, while others are severe and devastating. The evening vigil for the victims of the Orlando shooting at Houston City Hall was a small step towards getting things back that were lost.

It was an evening free of theatre and politics. It was about people gathering to express sorrow and genuine feelings of hope and grief. It brought people together from all walks of life and all religions. This was about fighting back in the only way we know, and about trying to make things a little better.

For me personally, it was about trying to be a part of a community that cares and hoping this small gesture makes things a little better for those impacted by what happened.

orlando shooting
Many gathered at Hermann Park to honor those the victims of the Orlando massacre. (Photo by Josh Pozda)

Vigils were held around the city, and below are thoughts from some who attended:

Jacobi Montgomery, Office Manager Bayou City Performing Arts; singer, The Gay Men’s Chorus of Houston
“We are the voice of people who do not have one, and can hopefully make it possible for people to heal and grieve who do not know how. That was made even more clear to me last night when I was stopped by someone saying even though he never personally experienced any hateful acts because he grew up with such loving family and friends, he somehow felt the tragedy happened to him… leaving him with hurt and confusion and not understanding how grieve or heal. He went on to say, ‘After hearing your group sing, and the words of others… I began to find some healing peace.’ ”

“For me, the vigil on Monday felt like not only a gathering to show support to our LGBTQ+ and POC siblings but to mourn as a community after such a desperately inconceivable event, but to somehow find some strength and hope together in expressions of love and compassion. And somehow, I felt honored to be there.”

Bill Arning, Director, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
“I just finished a marvelous history book, The Gay Revolution, about the long march toward marriage equality and gay folks being able to serve openly in the military. Every single advance happened after a setback, and many were violent and ruined or ended lives. So many young people dying called us together tonight to mourn collectively. But the strength, anger and commitment I saw around me gave me faith that within a few years WE will have a protection ordinance in place, that every politician who opposed HERO and gun control or takes NRA blood money will be voted out, and churches that preach hatred will be shuttered as the old bigoted forms of religion die out as young people raised in a diverse world learn that diversity is strength.”

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