Columbia honors victims of Orlando shooting with vigil

The candlelight vigil was put on by multiple MU organizations.
Columbia residents mourn the victims of the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, on June 13, 2016, at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater.

Nearly 1,000 people gathered Monday night at the Boone County Courthouse Amphitheater to honor the victims of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

MU students, LGBTQ community members and Columbia residents at the candlelight vigil spoke, sang and prayed for those affected by Sunday’s shooting. Organizers read the names of the 49 victims aloud and held a moment of silence.

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon of the Unitarian Universalist Church and Rev. Sarah Klaassen of Rock Bridge Christian Church said they are going through grief alongside the LGBTQ community.

“We publicly state our ongoing commitment to be faith leaders who are not slow to stand on the side of love with our LGBTQ siblings, with our Latino/Latina siblings, with our Muslim siblings of faith, and with all who experience hatred or threat,” the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon said.

Many campus leaders, including Missouri Students Association President Sean Earl, Multicultural Center Coordinator Stephanie Hernandez and MU graduate and activist Tiffany Melecio, were on stage at the event. Mayor Brian Treece was also in attendance.

Melecio, who pointed out how many of the victims were Latino, delivered controversial remarks about lack of participation by white attendees in race relations protests. A few members of the audience shouted out that her speech was “dividing” the audience.

The candlelight vigil was organized by multiple MU organizations, including the Counseling Center, LGBTQ Resource Center, Triangle Coalition, MU Fluidity, Queer/Trans People of Color and the Missouri Students Association, in addition to Mid Mo Pridefest, the Center Project, Unitarian Universalist Church and Rock Bridge Christian Church.

Edited by Katie Rosso |

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