Following Sunday morning’s massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, people throughout the nation are calling for vigils to remember the 50 who lost their lives and the 53 others who were wounded, including a handful in the D.C.-Baltimore area.
Starting on Monday, June 13 at 7:30 p.m., the Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum will be hosting a vigil at the Dupont Circle Fountain to mourn for those killed or injured in the attack, stand in solidarity with the LGBT community, and resist attempts to use the shooting at Pulse as justification for Islamophobia. Organizers have asked attendees to wear all black and come bearing signs, and have asked fellow Muslims observing Ramadan, to fast in solidarity with the victims and their families.
Another vigil had also been scheduled to be held at Dupont Circle on Monday evening by some local residents who were previously unaware of the Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum event. Patrick Farley, one of the organizers of the second event, has since been in talks with the Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum, and the two have decided to combine their vigils together. The event will be “open mic,” meaning anybody can step forward and say what they feel.
“I was sitting with friends around a table on the day the shooting happened, and we started looking around for a gathering or a vigil, and we couldn’t find any,” Farley says of why he chose to push for a vigil. “We just felt like we should do something.”
The LGBT community in Baltimore will hold its own vigil at 7 p.m. at the Ynot Lot, located at 4 W. North Ave. The event is being sponsored by (GLCCB), FreeState Legal and Equality Maryland, the LGBT Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care, and other Baltimore-area LGBT groups, and will feature speakers and performances dedicated to the memory of the victims. For those closer to Western Maryland, Frederick’s LGBT Community Center will host another candlelight vigil on Tuesday, June 14, at 8 p.m. at the Evangelical Reformed Church United Church of Christ, at 15 W. Church St. in Frederick.
On Wednesday, June 15, The DC Center for the LGBT Community will host a town hall along with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Whitman-Walker Health, the Latino LGBT History Project, and KhushDC in honor of the victims. As part of that event, Dr. Pat Hawkins will facilitate a community conversation where people can share their feelings and fears about the shooting or other anti-LGBT attacks, get information, talk about grief, and discuss what the local D.C. community can do to assist in this time of crisis. That event has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Foundry United Methodist Church, 1500 16th St. NW. Following that event, participants are encouraged to walk over to Dupont Circle to join several LGBT-affirming religious organizations and representatives from various faith communities for another vigil beginning at 8 p.m. Some of the participating faith organizations or leaders include Dignity/Washington, a group for LGBT Catholics, Bethel Christian Church, National City Christian Church, Imam Daayiee Abdullah, and Bishop Allyson Abrams of Empowerment Liberation Cathedral.
“We feel it’s important for the community to come together and support each other in this time,” says David Mariner, the executive director of The DC Center.
In addition to vigils, some local establishments have proposed holding fundraisers for the victims of the attack. On Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m., Shaw’s Tavern will be donating 50 percent of all proceeds from its Piano Bar, as well as $5 for every song sung, to Equality Florida’s Official Pulse Victims Fund. Shaw’s Tavern will also hold small raffles to help raise money for the fund, and are asking patrons to consider making individual donations as well.
Editor’s Note: This article was edited to include the second change of address for The DC Center event. It is now being held at Foundry United Methodist Church on Wednesday, June 15.
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