Tallahassee Community Holds Vigil For Orlando

Jun 13, 2016

Credit Regan McCarthy WFSU News

Shock is continuing to ripple through the Tallahassee community, after the deadliest mass shooting in the United States took place just four hours south. Many gathered Monday for the second vigil in as many days.

The First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee is crowded. Pews are filled and people stand in the aisles fanning themselves. It’s hot, but better than the original plan to meet outside the historic Capitol. Citizens are gathering to remember the lives lost early Sunday morning, to pray for healing and to share.

“I’m outraged. I’m flabbergasted. I feel so sorry for 49 people from my community and actually one really twisted confused guy who apparently was responsible for all this,” Says David Luke

Luke identifies himself as gay and a Tallahassee and Florida native. And he says making sure people know all those aspects of who he is, is important. He says society has become focused on tearing one another down and he says he wants to push against that by standing up for who he is.

“I think I need to be more visible and people will decide that I’m okay or not okay or whatever else. But I don’t want to self-sensor anymore. I want to be more visible. I want to be part of the diversity in this diverse society,” Luke says.

The shooting in Orlando took place at a popular gay night club. And while government officials like Florida Governor Rick Scott have called the event a terrorist attack, some like Mickee Faust Club member Susan Gage say there’s another word to describe it—a hate crime.

“You know, we also want it acknowledged about who was attacked and why. I mean, when you know that the guy did the attack because he saw two men kissing and that infuriated him, how much thought has to go into why he would go to a gay night club and start shooting people,” Gage says.

Gage says she and other members of the LGBT, or lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender, community are frustrated. But she says she also wants to focus on love and community.

“Yesterday was just so incredibly shocking and as the continuing unfolding of what happened started to come out," Gage says, "it’s at those times that you just really want to bond with other people.”