Holding signs with the names of victims and demanding “Gun control now,” thousands gathered Monday outside the iconic Stonewall Inn to honor those killed in the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Crowds began filling the streets around the Greenwich Viillage bar that is considered the birthplace of the gay rights movement for a vigil for the 49 people killed and 53 wounded in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the vigil, attended by members of Congress and a who’s who of city officials and LGBT activists.
Cuomo railed against Congress for failing to pass gun control measures and vowed to walk shoulder to shoulder with participants in the largest and safest Pride parade ever in New York on June 26.
“The Orlando massacre has stirred a cauldron of emotions … frustration over a society that allows a madman to buy an assault weapon,” Cuomo said. “It has gone on far too long.
“How many people must die before the federal government comes to its senses?”
Cuomo said the rampage by an American-born Muslim whose parents immigrated from Afghanistan was not a senseless or random act.
“It targeted the LGBT community,” he said.”That is vile. That is evil, That is hatred. And we must all stand up with one voice and condemn it.”
Earlier, de Blasio rejected New York real estate mogul and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s renewed call for clamping down on Muslim immigration and increased surveillance of Muslims in the country.
“Our message tonight is we stand in solidarity with all members of the LGBT community, and obviously it will be a vigil in memory of those lost in Orlando,” de Blasio said on 1010 Wins Monday morning.
The mayor also added that there will also be a large NYPD presence at key sites around the city, especially LGBT community sites.
“The LGBT community in America and around the world is often the target of hate, but time and again has prove that love conquers hate,” the Facebook event description said. “ We will not run and hide, we will not cower to violence and we will continue to love and fight for full equality for all Americans.”
On Tuesday night, Public Advocate Letitia James is planning to host a unity vigil at the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. The vigil, which starts at 7:30 p.m., will include elected officials and members of the LGBT, Muslim, Hispanic and anti-gun violence community.
— City of New York (@nycgov) June 13, 2016