ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Crowds gathered in Albany and Schenectady on Monday to attend vigils in honor of the victims of the massacre in Orlando.
People of all nationalities, ages, and genders attended the vigils. There was a mixture of emotions, including laughter, tears and resilience.
In Albany, crowds gathered around West Capitol Park. In Schenectady, they came together at the city hall. Couples held hands and others waved the Pride Flag to show the world the shooting would not keep them in the closet.
“To be a presence,” Terri Lukacko said. “To be with people who need to know that there’s people on their side.”
During the vigil, candles were lit and a 50-second moment of silence was held to remember the 50 lives that were tragically and suddenly taken.
“It brought tears to my eyes because it is very personal, and it’s a personal attack when someone targets someone with different sexual preferences,” Cristobal Morales said.
There were signs that read “Love one another” and “Pride not Fear.” The LGBT community used the vigils to say they would not let the tragedy prevent them from living their lives.
“This is nothing new, you know,” Michael Krieger said. “It’s happened many times before. I lived in New York City for many years, and I saw friends being violently treated.
Vigil attendees stood united to spread love across the Capital Region.
“It was very sobering and jarring to see our brothers and sisters in Orlando that were killed, missing, injured, and we had to react immediately,” Pride Center Executive Director and CEO Michael Weidrich said.
A vigil was also held in Hudson. It brought out crowds of people who were mourning the loss of innocent lives.
“It’s heartbreaking and unnerving and frightening as a community,” Hudson Pride Foundation Exec. Dir. Martha Harvey said. “We need to recognize what has happened.”
When Weidrich gave his speech at the Albany vigil, he said the most frequently asked question he’s gotten is whether or not the tragedy has instilled a sense of fear for future pride events.
He responded confidently and said “absolutely not.” If anything, it gives the LGBT community more reason to make their presence known.