YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – About 150 gathered on the steps of the Mahoning County Courthouse in downtown Youngstown Monday night for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the deadliest shooting in American history.
Pride Youngstown said it organized the vigil for the 49 people who died in Orlando Sunday morning at Pulse nightclub, and numerous others who are lost daily for just being who they are.
“We want the community to commemorate the loss but to move forward in love and progress,” said Kim Atkins from Pride Youngstown. “This is not a moment where we need to give in to our hate. We need to come together as a community and come together in love, and move our country forward, away from this kind of violence.”
A number of people, including Mayor John McNally, local lawmakers and organizers with Pride Youngstown, talked about love and strength to overcome this tragedy.
There was a moving rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Others stood up and read off the names of all of the victims.
“Everyone here starts off in a place of sorrow. Forty-nine people and then 53 people injured is a lot of pain to process,” Atkins said. “But I think one of our speakers captured it, in that there’s a lot of hope.”
Security was a concern for the event but Youngstown Police were there to make sure everything was calm and peaceful.
“I just want to hold her hand in public and this person was like, ‘You need to stop shoving your gay crap down our throats and then maybe you wouldn’t be getting killed,'” said Chelsea Mishko, of Austintown. “This is why we say our voices will be louder than their hatred, their guns, anything they try to threaten at us.”
Mishko and her girlfriend, Carissa Brennan, of Cortland, held homemade signs that said things like, “Remember Orlando.”
“Love will win and you can see all these people here that love has won, and that people care and that things will get better,” Brennan said.