On Tuesday 14 June thousands gathered, from all walks of life, on College Green to hold a vigil for those who were murdered and injured in Orlando at the weekend. The worst mass shooting in American History took place in gay nightclub Pulse.
Speakers included Mayor Marvin Rees, Avon and Somerset Police Chief Constable, leaders from the Muslim Community, The Dean of Bristol Cathedral and organisers from Bristol Hate Crime Services, Out Bristol, and The Diversity Trust who all joined us on stage. We also had tear jerking performance from Sing Out Bristol.
It was an amazing display of solidarity and of the Bristol Community, LGBT+ and others, coming together.
All the speeches are available to listen to online via Shout Out Radio and BBC Radio Bristol live streamed HERE. We also made 100’s of rainbow ribbons for donations and organised a raffle (thanks to Six O’clock Gin for their donations.) and raised £1156.41 for Equality Florida (you can donate online)
Daryn Carter, Director of Bristol Pride said:
I stand with you tonight shocked and saddened by what has happened in Orlando to the Latinx and LGBT+ community. It must be recognised that this was a targeted attack against the LGBT+ community.
But I am also angry. I am angry because after decades of being treated like second class citizens it finally felt like things were getting better. It’s still difficult to do something as simple as hold hands in public but when Pride visit schools we talk about how things have changed over the years and how our rights have improved.
17 years ago I was in Soho the night of the nail bomb attack. I had experienced homophobia before but this was the first time I had realised that pure hatred exists against our community. We said never again but here we are. The players have changed but the hatred has remained and all we want to do is to live and to love.
If you think that the LGBT+ community, scene or that Pride is not important then this is why. I want as many of you as you can to join the Pride parade this year and come to pride, be loud & be proud. We will not live in fear and be forced back into the closet. We owe it to all those who have come before us and for all those who will come after us. We mourn the dead but we must fight like hell for living.
Together we are stronger
Together we overcome hatred
Love will always win
Thank you to the organisations that came together at very short notice to put this event on and to you the people that came to make it so special.
Photo credit: Colin Moody