Post submitted by Kendra R. Johnson, State Director, HRC Arkansas with contributions from Abram Greenbaum, Intern, HRC Arkansas
In the aftermath of the early morning tragedy in Orlando, thousands of people gathered at vigils across the U.S. With only hours to put them together, it was a stark reminder that in the face of hatred and bigotry, the LGBTQ community and our allies have the power and will to come together and persevere.
On Sunday night in Little Rock, Arkansas, hundreds of allies and LGBTQ community members banded together for two vigils. HRC, the Center for Artistic Revolution, ArTEC, Stonewall Democrats and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense sponsored the first vigil at the First Presbyterian Church of Little Rock.
“This is not a time for intolerance toward our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said HRC Arkansas Director Kendra R. Johnson. “Intolerance claimed these lives. Only love will heal us.”
Two days later, HRC Arkansas partnered with ByLites and several other community groups to host a second vigil focused on allowing community members to share their expressions of grief, sorrow, anger and resilience. Held at the Terry House, the 49 names were read aloud as candles were lit for each victim. Those in attendance sang, read poetry and voiced their support for the LGBTQ community.
As our community continues to recover from the Pulse tragedy, LGBTQ leaders in Orlando have come together to form The LGBTQ Alliance and have partnered to create The Heal Orlando Project. HRC encourages everyone to visit http://healorlando.org/ to access support or lend a hand. Mourners can also sign HRC’s virtual memorial at www.hrc.org/WeAreOrlando.