After Sunday's horrific mass shooting in Orlando at Pulse nightclub, people around the country have been taking solace in community spaces and holding vigils to honor the victims and survivors of the tragedy. For the LGBTQ community, bars and clubs have long been safe spaces where people can gather to meet, bond, and support one another when the rest of the world feels like an unwelcoming, dangerous place; this makes the idea of someone invading our safe spaces and instilling violence and hate particularly disturbing. On Monday, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
There have been many emotional and powerful vigils worldwide since Sunday's devastating tragedy, including a particularly poignant one held at the Joy Metropolitan Community Church in Orlando on Sunday evening. JMCC is a predominantly gay congregation and is regarded as a place of safety and solace for the queer community in central Florida; after the devastating events of Sunday morning, community members gathered to commemorate and honor the victims' lives, to mourn, and to join together to support each other in a time of terrible need.
As communities mourn the victims of the Pulse shootings, many have taken to song to express their grief, including the Orlando Gay Chorus at the JMCC vigil. In videos tweeted by Washington Post writer Hayley Tsukayama, whose Twitter bio describes her as a "part-time Floridian," the chorus' performance shows the members of the congregation singing along with an emotional rendition of "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper, who has long been an icon of the LGBTQ community:
As well as "You'll Never Walk Alone" by Gerry and the Pacemakers:
After tragedies, people often turn to music to express the emotions that may feel too overwhelming or difficult to put into their own words while healing. People often also use music as a means of expressing grief and love in ways that feel more universal and far-reaching. While Sunday's mass shooting occurred at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the LGBTQ community (and general population) have felt the impact and loss worldwide.
There have been vigils for the Orlando victims across the country, held in community spaces, places of worship, and Pride festivals. You can find an Orlando vigil near you where you can find and give support to those impacted by the Orlando shootings.