Nevada City candlelight vigil in remembrance of Orlando tragedy
WHAT:”After Pulse: Candlelight Vigil in Remembrance of Orlando, Fla.
WHEN: 6 p.m., Wednesday
WHERE: Robinson Plaza at the bottom of Commercial Street in Nevada City.
The event will include a moment of silence, music and guest speakers. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own candles and contributions to a temporary memorial.
Recently home from his freshman year at college, Bobby Trice woke up Sunday to shocking headlines. A gunman had gone on a shooting rampage in a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
“I froze — for a while I was numb,” he said. “Then I broke down, and my mom and I ended up crying all morning at the kitchen table.”
Trice had come out publicly while a senior at Forest Charter School in Nevada City, but for years had not felt safe enough to openly share the fact that he was gay. When he learned the Orlando massacre had happened in a supposed “safe space” for the LGBTQ community, it hit home.
“I realized that I really wanted to memorialize this event locally in some way,” said Trice. “I couldn’t let this become just another token event for people’s political arguments. I wanted to create a space for mourning and community processing, as well as a sign of solidarity and visibility for the local LGBTQ community. That doesn’t happen much here.”
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Trice has organized a community candlelight vigil, scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday in Robinson Plaza at the bottom of Commercial Street in Nevada City. The event will include a moment of silence, music, guest speakers and more. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own candles and contributions — such as flowers — to a temporary memorial. Trice will act as emcee.
“The U.S. has made great strides in equality for the LGBTQ community over the past few years, but what has happened in Orlando is a tragedy and hopefully it will shed even more light on the inequalities and injustices that the LGBTQ community still endure,” said Nancy Baker, president of PFLAG Nevada County. “I don’t think of this as just a PFLAG or LGBTQ community issue. This is a U.S. issue and a world issue. There are violent acts against LGBTQ people every day.
“PFLAG Nevada County still deals with LGBTQ youth having issues with unaccepting parents, we hear about teens being afraid to come out in our largest high school and there are religious groups that are anything but tolerant,” Baker continued. “Does it take a massacre to wake up and finally bring attention to the violence against this community of people in the U.S.?”
Baker and Nevada County District 1 Supervisor-elect Heidi Hall will be among the guest speakers at Wednesday’s gathering.
“LGBTQ folks have faced bullying and discrimination my entire lifetime — it is a moral failing of ours not to stand up for the discriminated against,” said Hall. “Like many others, I am saddened and sickened by the violent expression of bigotry Orlando just experienced. I want our towns and county to be a place of tolerance and safety for the LGBT community.”
To lash out at the Muslim community after a tragic event like this is not the answer, said Trice.
“That would be using the same hate crime tactics that my community has experienced,” he said. “I am in solidarity with all marginalized communities. Civil rights activist and poet Audre Lorde said, ‘There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.’ Much of the Islamophobic and homophobic rhetoric we’re hearing is coming from hatred and fear. That’s not a way to move forward in terms of social justice for anyone. All are welcome Wednesday to share in this peaceful space for honoring, remembering and grieving.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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