New York vigil for LGBTQ people murdered in Orlando
New York, NY – On June 12, at 6 p.m., over 600 people gathered at the steps of the historic Stonewall Inn to mourn the lives lost in the Orlando Massacre that happened earlier that day.
In the early hours of June 12, Omar Mateen entered the popular LGBTQ Orlando nightclub, Pulse, and opened fire. The club was hosting a Latin night that featured a trans-woman headline. Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 before being shot by the cops. While the bourgeois media assumed that his motives were linked to Islam, reports from Mateen’s family state that he was never religious. Closer investigation revealed that Mateen worked for G4S, a security systems company that provides surveillance equipment to Israeli prisons. Pictures of Mateen wearing NYPD shirts also surfaced and made the rounds on social media. It seems likely that his motives were closely related to homophobia rather than religious belief.
The vigil was organized by a local New York group Queer Nation-NY and several other community organizers. The topic of the speeches ranged from expressing sentiments of remorse, sadness and love, to calls to action and revolution.
Ava Lipatti, from Students for a Democratic Society, gave a powerful speech, in which halfway through broke out in a round of chants denouncing the racist police, who during this peaceful vigil wore riot gear. Lipatti said, “What we have to remember today is that the system that prompted the shooter to carry out this tragedy is the same system that perpetuates genocide in the Middle East. And, it has been found out that the shooter was not a practicing Muslim, but in fact was a fan of the NYPD. We cannot let this tragedy be a pretext for more war and genocide. What we need now more than ever is solidarity between the queer community and the Muslim community.”
As the sun set over Christopher Street, the attendees had heavy hearts but were galvanized to keep fighting for justice.