Charlotte LGBT community stands with Orlando

Charlotte LGBT community mourns for Orlando
(Christian Flores | WBTV)
(Christian Flores | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As the nation mourns the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the Charlotte LGBT community gathered to honor those who died.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, there was a moment of silence throughout the country. Charlotte Latin Pride - a subset of Charlotte Pride - organized a candlelight vigil and took part in the moment of silence.

At the vigil, several people in the LGBT community spoke, urging everyone to stand strong, instead of going into hiding out of fear.

"We are more than just an acronym. We are people. We are brothers, we are sisters, we are children of our parents, we are parents of our own children," said Reverend Bruce Baker-Rooks.

The shooting happened early Sunday morning at Pulse - a gay nightclub in Orlando - killing at least 50, and wounding 53 more. Many in the LGBT say this attack leaves them feeling violated.

"It was more than a tragedy just in terms of the death toll. It was just a tragedy in terms of the one place that a lot of us feel we can gather and not be in danger and hold hands and all those things was just taken from us," said Cory Collins.

While many mourned, some in Charlotte worried.

Joshua Watkins is an Orlando native, and was in Charlotte for the weekend. He isn't in the LGBT community, but he has friends who are. He says he spent the morning fearing for the worst.

"I have a close friend there who was shot in the arm. His partner did not make it out as of yet," he said.

Watkins says Sunday has been an emotional roller coaster.

"Everybody is lost, confused, scared, mad."

While several victims continue to fight for their lives in the hospital, the Charlotte LGBT community will continue to support the Orlando victims' families, as well as the LGBT community there.

There are several more vigils planned. There's one Monday night at 8:30 at Bar at 316, a prominent gay bar in Charlotte.

Equality NC will provide resources to the Orlando community.

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