A candlelight vigil was held in front of the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ.
Frederick residents gathered Tuesday to remember the victims of the worst mass shooting in US history. They stood in front of the Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ on West Church Street, holding candles in honor of the 49 people who were shot and killed inside a gay night club in Orlando, Florida early Sunday morning.
Part of the ceremony included the reading of the names by some elected officials, including State Senator Ron Young, and Delegates Karen Lewis Young and Carol Krimm.
“So tonight we stand together, united, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, straight, every color of the rainbow. We stand to say one thing: their lives were worth naming and their lives are worth remembering, said Reverend Robert Apgar-Taylor with Grace United Methodist Church.
The event was organized by the Frederick Center, which fights for equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. Kris Fair chairs the Center’s board. He urged the crowd, which spilled out on West Church Street, to speak up for equal rights for all. “Each of you are starting that conversation. You are standing up to hate with love, discrimination with compassion and divisiveness with heroism,” he said.
The 49 people who perished in the gay night club in Orlando were shot by Omar Mateen, a Muslim who had a hatred of gays after seeing two men kissing. But now media reports are saying Mateen may have been conflicted about his sexual orientation, and could have been gay himself.
During her comments, County Executive Jan Gardner urged the crowd not to judge a certain segment of the population because of the actions of one person. “We know that terrorism must be fought and opposed and ended. And we know the key to fighting terrorism includes recognizing that we can’t take an entire group of people and blame them for the acts of one individual,” she said.
Adding to that, Imam Yahya Hendi of Clergy Without Borders said Islam is a peaceful faith, and there’s no religion for terrorism and hate. He also said Mateen does not represent the American Muslim community. “And therefore I declare as an imam that the act of that crazy guy does not speak for Islam and he is not of our community,” Hendi said.
In order to accommodate the large crowd at the candlelight vigil, Frederick Police closed off that one-block section of West Church Street.