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Hundreds Of San Antonians Attend Somber Vigil For Orlando Victims

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
A version of the pride flag waves over attendees of Sunday night's vigil in Crockett Park. Crockett Park is across the street from many of the city's gay bars. June 12 2016

San Antonio’s LGBT community held a candlelight vigil Sunday night for the victims killed in an Orlando night club earlier in the day.

Edward Sotomayer, Jr., age 34.

The names of some of the known victims of the Orlando terror were read off Sunday in Crockett park.

Stanley Almodovar III, age 23.

More than 300 people attended; many of them members of San Antonio’s LGBT community. Many holding candles. Some with signs that said ‘Pray for Orlando.’

Tanya Pacetti-Perkins was among those in the crowd. “What happened in Orlando could have been any city in any state, and I think the fact that we’re able to come together to acknowledge the horror of what’s happened we can also reaffirm our commitment to being out as a community.”

The attack that killed at least 50 people and injured more than 50 others comes during Pride Month; an annual celebration of LGBT culture.

The vigil was organized with the help of social media. Several elected officials like State Rep. Diego Bernal gave short speeches. He told attendees about the importance of unity. “We have to join together, we have to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, and when we do that there will no longer be a vulnerable population but just people, human beings, side-by-side saying when you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.”

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and his brother Congressman Joaquin were also present. Julian Castro called Sundays attacks a senseless act of terror. “Even though this person committed an attack of hate, love and respect and unity are more powerful and that’s what you have here tonight.”

A second vigil, this one organized by the Pride Center, is planned for Thursday at Crockett Park.]