WASHINGTON - Just days after a gunman opened fire inside an Orlando nightclub killing 49 people and wounding over 50 more, an estimated 2,000 people gathered in Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. for a candlelight vigil to honor the victims in the deadly attack.
It was a somber vigil, filled with a lot of hope from the people who gathered at the Dupont Circle Fountain. They came together to share their messages of hope, and many sat praying.
The vigil began with 102 seconds of silence to honor both slain victims and the survivors of the massacre. The names of the 49 victims who were killed were read. The reading was followed by the crowd shouting "presente" in Spanish, which means "present" in English.
"No one who is Muslim would attack and take the lives of 49 people during the month of Ramadan," said Amina Tou, who attended the vigil. "That is not Islam and that is not what our faith is based on."
"I don't think any one individual here can adequately put into singular words the depth of this tragedy because it is such an immense one, and as such, that is probably why so many people are looking to be together at this time," said Taz Jones. "Because together collectively, we are better able to make sense of this all."
The vigil, organized by the local LGBT Catholic group Dignity Washington. According to the group, other local LGBT supportive churches, and faith-based groups were invited to participate in the vigil. Among them are the LGBT-supportive synagogue Bet Mispachah, Covenant Baptist Church, Dumbarton United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ and many more.
This is not the first vigil to be held in Dupont Circle. On Monday night, a large crowd of about 200 people gathered at a vigil also to show their support for the victims. Several speakers at the vigil talked about their connections to the LGBT community, as well as the Muslim and Latino communities.
Vigils are planned throughout the week, both locally and around the country. Go to weareorlando.org for a full list of related events.