More than 1,000 people, including half the Dallas City Council and a number of other elected officials, gathered at the new LGBT Community Center on the evening of Sunday, June 12, to mourn the 49 people killed and more than 50 injured in the shooting inside the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse early Sunday morning.
The massacre was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Clergy from different faiths — including Christianity, Judaism and Islam as well as representatives of the Buddhist and Hindu communities — spoke at the vigil to say there is no place for religious intolerance in our country.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also spoke, telling the crowd, “Everyday, I wake up hoping I don’t get a call like this,” referring to the call the Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer received after the massacre began. “We are here for you,” Rawlings reassured the LGBT community.
Police Chief David Brown said, “We are with you as partners and friends.”
The police presence in Oak Lawn, especially around bars and other LGBT businesses and community facilities, has been increased. Rawlings said he’s gotten donations to pay for the overtime to cover the extra security.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins thanked organizers of the event, saying, “The city of Dallas and Dallas County stand on the side of love,” referring to Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who tweeted a comment Sunday morning that appeared to blame the victims of the shooting for their own murder as it quote from biblical scripture about people reaping what they sow.
An imam from the Valley Ranch Islamic Center said that when his community was targeted, the LGBT community stood against Islamophobia. He was attending the vigil on Sunday, he said, to support the LGBT community.
Resource Center CEO Cece Cox said she hadn’t expected to be helping stage such a vigil on the tenth day after occupying the organization’s new headquarters. She called the center “a safe place for our community,” and she called out Patrick on his bigotry.
After more than a dozen speakers, the crowd marched in silence from the community center to the Legacy of Love monument, which has become an impromptu memorial to the victims of the Orlando massacre, covered in candles, flowers and signs of love, mourning, support and pride.