Thousands gather at City Hall to mourn Orlando massacre victims
An estimated 2,000 LGBT Philadelphians and allies attended a candlelight vigil held at City Hall Monday night to honor those who lost their lives in the Orlando mass shooting.
People held candles and some chanted “somos latinos, estamos unidos”. Children made inspiring signs. Scores of mourners comforted each other and cried.
Attendees included Mayor Jim Kenney, who fought back tears as he spoke about Philly native Akyra Murray, a recent West Catholic Preparatory High School graduate and basketball star who lost her life in the tragic incident.
“I can’t tell you how devastating it is that she was in that club,” he said as he choked up. “Just make sure that we hold each other, that we love each other. We’re going to get through this all together.”
After Kenney’s emotional speech, people from the audience took the stage to spread their own messages.
“Be allies everyday, not only when something [tragic] happens,” an LGBT advocate said.
“Let us mourn. Stop taking pictures and recording. This is not a show!” said one of Akyra’s basketball teammates, who was accompanied on stage by the team.
The crowd grew so large that police had to shut down part of JFK Boulevard. They eventually closed all of the streets surrounding City Hall as attendees marched around the building. The march was led by Akyra’s friends, family, and basketball team.