I have been lucky enough to call Orlando my home for over 3 years and on June 12, 2016, Orlando was attacked. Pulse, a gay nightclub was the focus of this attack. This cowardice act of hate ended 49 lives too early, and changed more lives than can be counted.
Almost immediately blood banks around the city were having donation lines for blocks. People and local businesses were donating food and water to those who were standing in line to donate. It was a beautiful sight to see this community come together as one in its time of need.
There have been blood drives and vigils throughout the city, including a massive vigil outside the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. (please google the images are amazing!) On June 14, there was a vigil scheduled for Memory Mall at the University of Central Florida. (large grassy field on UCF campus) Right before the start time a thunderstorm was about to hit, so it got postponed for 15-20 minutes. Realizing the storm was likely to stick around the decision was made to move the vigil into the UCF Student Union. There were many speakers at the vigil including President of UCF, Dr. John C. Hitt, Transgender Inclusion Director of Equality Florida Gina Duncan, and LGBT activist Joe Saunders.
This is such a tough thing for me to blog because it is such a heavy topic. But I felt I had to share these photos, i want to show how strong the city beautiful truly is. If these photos can make one of the victims loved one's smile, I feel my job is complete.
WE ARE ORLANDO. WE WILL NOT SPREAD HATE. #ORLANDOUNITED