The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Local vigil stands with Orlando


Iowa City community members gathered Monday at a candlelight vigil to mourn the victims of the Orlando massacre.

By Claire Dietz

[email protected]

Colored candles in hand and adorned in pride flags taking the form of bags, scarves, shirts, and umbrellas, members of the Iowa City community filled up Black Hawk Mini Park on the Pedestrian Mall Monday evening to mourn the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning.

The ceremony was held in remembrance of the at least 49 killed and 53 wounded in the shooting in the early morning hours of Sunday. A gunman entered the Pulse nightclub and opened fire on those inside.

The attack is considered the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and the worst terrorist attack since 9/11. The Women’s Resource and Action Center held the vigil to allow the LGBTQ+ community of Iowa City to grieve collectively.

Meagan Schorr, the WRAC violence-prevention-program coordinator,  said she wanted the opportunity for locals be give a place to mourn.

“It was really important for all of us to come together to show solidarity and support, for us to come together to heal and find space with one anyone who needs it,” she said.

Schorr said the purpose was to bring people together to let people know they were aware of the tragedy.

“One thing this event is hoping to highlight is that queer, queer people of color, trans people, trans people of color, marginalized, oppressed identities are often targeted by violence like this,” Schorr said. “We wanted to bring people together to let folks know … we want to stand in solidarity, and we want to challenge these forms of violence in our communities.”

During the event, volunteers passed out fluorescent posters that read “We stand with Orlando.” Others showed they stood in solidarity with Pulse with posters calling for an end to this kind of violence as well as an end to homophobia and transphobia. People combated the heat as best they could by fanning themselves with posters and leaflets with similar messages.

As speakers stepped up to the podium, spectators lit candles with their heads lowered.

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Avi Deol, executive director of Transformative Healing, said she will not let the pain and suffering be turned into hate toward another marginalized group.

“My heart’s heavy today,” she said to the crowd. “It was heavy yesterday learning of the news and disbelief, but it is also full knowing you all here today in support.

“And it’s an act of revolution to come together in support of one another in healing and solidarity. And we are angry, we’re hurting, but let us not turn that anger and pain into hate. We refuse to let the homophobic, the transphobic, the cissexism turn into Islamophobia. We see it for what it was, it was an act of hate, an act of violence, but we will come together in support.”

Another speaker, University of Iowa junior Rose Fiala spoke out about the pain and fear that she said now plagues many members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“When I learned about what happened and saw the pain in my community and the communities connected to mine, I couldn’t get used to it,” she said to the crowd. “I still, to this very moment, haven’t gotten used to it, and it’s going to be a long, long time before I can.

“What happened yesterday was an attack on community — trans communities, lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities, communities of color, and the communities at the intersections of all of those things … But community — real, intentional community built on shared empathy, understanding, and communal support, community that provides us spaces to live instead of survive — that is what will save us.”


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