Candlelight Vigil In Sarasota
Our Hearts Beat On. We Promise To Stay Strong
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“Hate Will Not Win”, a Candlelight Vigil in honor of the victims of the attack at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL was held in Sarasota on Monday, June 13th while other Candlelight Vigils were held worldwide. Organized by local activist Shannon Fortner over 1500 people showed up by 8pm. The ceremony lasted for about an hour during which prominent members of the local LGBTQ Community spoke eloquently of the meaning for our community and the memory of the victims.
“We will not stand and let people do this and try to knock us down,” said Shannon. In addition to a list of the victims, a very moving statement was read in memory of Eddie Sotomayor Jr. who was from Sarasota and died in the attack at Pulse.
Most of those who attended held light candles that glowed eerily as night fell. When it came time for Shannon to speak she had the crowd repeat the words: “Our hearts beat on. We promise to stay strong.”
Local singer, Jennifer Beal lead the crowd in singing “Over The Rainbow” towards the end of the ceremony and was joined in by the 1500 attendess as darkness fell. It was a very emotional moment as the lyrics to this well-known song took on a poignent new meaning. The event was pulled together with the help of the entire city commission, all of who attended, as well as our local chief of police.
I’m proud to call Sarasota my home. This city has been so welcoming to the LGBTQ Community and this is just one more example. No questions asked. Everyone is welcome here!