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Middlesbrough Orlando Vigil

Hart Gables stand in solidarity with Orlando

 

Orlando Vigil

Teesside's LGBT community say together they can eradicate homophobia and defeat hate crime.

Dozens turned out to a candlelight vigil at Centre Square in Middlesbrough to honour the 49 people who died in in a shooting at an Orlando nightclub.

Candles, flags and flowers were were laid and members of the public read out the name of every victim before lighting a candle in their honour.

A minute silence was also observed.

The crowd heard from Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, as well as members of the LGBT community about how the tragedy had impacted on them.

The event was organised by Hartlepool LGBT charity Hart Gables.

Strategic Development Manager Sarah Lewis admitted she thought there would only be a handful of people there.

She said: "It's all about standing in solidarity when something like this happens.

"It's an awful thing that's happened and we just need to come together as a community to show support.

"It's the best way to do it.

"With any community when something like this happens, people are going to be angry, people are going to be passionate.

"That will come out through the words.

"We've heard some speakers tonight get passionate about things and rightly so, you can't expect anything less."

Dave Smith read the name of one of the 49 victims and says the attack shouldn't get the community down.

He said: "You can change laws all you want but it comes down to attitudes at the end of the day.

"Past generations, they were discriminated against by the state.

"Now it's about changing hearts and minds and I'd say we're on our way to doing that."

Lizzie attended the vigil with her partner.

She said: "We needed to bring everyone together to send our thoughts and prayers over to the families in Orlando.

"Even though it's hundreds if not thousands of miles away, we're still all part of this community and it does scare us, because it could happen here next."

 

 

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