IMAGE: Ananna Gallant leads a song at the Thursday evening vigil. Photo by Bill Brown.
JUN 17—A spontaneously organized group calling itself the “Community Gathering for Love in Takoma Park” held a candle-lit vigil Thursday, June 16 to “mourn Orlando [and] celebrate diversity.” A gunman killed 49 and wounded 53 in an Orlando, FL gay nightclub during a “Latin night,” June 12.
Local politicians addressed the crowd of at least 150 gathered at the Carroll Avenue gazebo, which has become the traditional venue for vigils in reaction to national events. Takoma Park mayor Kate Stewart and councilmember Rizzy Qureshi spoke. Vee Martinez spoke as a Latina lesbian and Ananna Gallant led a song. Sharon Gervasoni gave the opening statement and introduced the rest of the speakers.
Gervasoni said the gathering’s purpose was to “be present with each other, as we feel our intense emotional reaction to these events.” She and the other speakers spoke in support of LGBT people, particularly the Latinx LGBT community. “Latinx” is a gender-neutral form of “Latino/Latina.” They also spoke about against Islamophobia and racism.
City councilmember Terry Seamens and his wife Joyce attended, as did councilmember Peter Kovar. City police chief Alan Goldberg and two other police officers were present, providing security.
A large continent of Boy Scouts, members of local Troop 33, attended in uniform, marching into the Gazebo plaza behind their troop flag. Troop 33 was openly defiant of the Boy Scout organization’s ban on gay adult leaders, which was lifted in 2015.
There were several families and young children there, in response to organizer’s request that families attend to show support for the community’s diversity. Attendees brought candles and noise makers.
The main organizers of the event were Alexandra Walker and Risa Shaw.
Photos by Bill Brown.
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