San Francisco Stands With Orlando

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Hundreds gathered in San Francisco's gay-centric Castro District to mourn the loss of LGBT life in Orlando. The vigil tool place at 8 p.m. on June 12, the day news of the mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub made headlines.

The vigil was supposed to take place at Harvey Milk Plaza at the corner of Castro and Market Streets, but so many people showed up that the vigil stretched across the street into Jane Warner Plaza, a small parklet named after the late San Francisco police officer Jane Warner, who was a lesbian.

People wiped away tears and held candles as the speakers took to the stage.

Openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro District said that guns were "a disease."

"The country is awash in guns," Wiener said, speaking from the podium. "I'm angry. We are here to recommit the fight to end anti-LGBT violence and to force congress to do something about the damn guns."

Supervisor David Campos, who is also gay, represents San Francisco's primarily Latin Mission District. "It's a very difficult day," Campos said. "As a gay Latino man this is shocking to me – we must make sure that the Latino community is not forgotten in all of this."

Most of the victims at Pulse were LGBT Latinos.

"We've gotten complacent," Campos continued. "People of color are often marginalized within the LGBT community. We don't want to be remembered just when we're massacred. We want to be remembered every day."

Campos reminded the crowd that Congress did nothing after school children were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Pastor Megan Rohrer, the first openly transgender pastor to be ordained as the leader of a Lutheran congregation, also addressed the mourners.

"We are Queer, we are fabulous, we are beautiful," the Pastor shouted. "We must act up and stand up. Out of the bars and into the streets. Out of the churches and into the streets!"

"The NRA is a powerful group," said San Francisco's interim police chief Toney Chaplin. "I'm looking at a more powerful group. Get out and vote! If you see something suspicious, say something!

San Francisco resident Sal Navarrette, who is gay, spoke to SFGN. "The hate that's out there saddens me," he said. "I don't want people who hate to make me fearful. I want them to know they're uniting us."

Brandy Jane Rose, a 22-year-old transwoman, said that the killings in Orlando would not make her fearful of attending San Francisco Pride in two weeks.

"I cannot not give a shit anymore," she said. "The fight is not over. We cannot back down. We cannot let them win."

The vigil concluded with the mourners singing the Civil Rights anthem We Shall Overcome, which was followed by a march down Market Street to San Francisco City Hall.

David-Elijah Nahmod is SFGN’s correspondent in San Francisco.


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