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Rainbow Flag Raised at Flagstaff City Hall as Community Honors Orlando Victims

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Ryan Heinsius
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At a dedication ceremony last night, Flagstaff became the first Arizona city to raise the LGBT rainbow flag in front of its city hall. It was an acknowledgement of the 20th anniversary of Flagstaff’s pride celebration, and also a candlelight vigil for the 49 people killed at an Orlando nightclub earlier this month. The mood was somber as community members read the names and ages of each victim. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

Hundreds gathered on the lawn holding small white candles outside city hall. Elected officials and community members alike stood together in silence until every name was read. 

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Credit Ryan Heinsius
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Kathryn Jim, executive director of Flagstaff Pride, spoke at the event and called for an end of violence toward the LGBT community.

Flagstaff resident April Barton came to the memorial to support the LGBT community in the aftermath of the deadly attack.

“Just seeing all these people come to heal is just amazing. It’s – I can’t find the words. It’s just – look at all these people. They’re here to support and not be afraid, and come here for love and not hate,” said Barton.

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Credit Ryan Heinsius
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Laura Giacobbe holds a sign at the vigil and flag raising ceremony Thursday night.

One of the speakers at last night’s event was Kathryn Jim, executive director of Flagstaff Pride. She called for community action and the end of violence toward people in the LGBT community.

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Credit Ryan Heinsius
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The somber crowd held candles as the names of the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting were read aloud.

“It’s been really heartbreaking for everyone. This needs to stop. How do we do it? How do we work together and unify and not allow this to ever happen again?” asked Jim.

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Credit Ryan Heinsius
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Flagstaff resident Tommy Elias reads the name of one of the victims of the Orlando shooting during Thursday's vigil.

Security has been stepped up at pride celebrations across the country since the Orlando shooting. Flagstaff’s event this weekend will also have a heavier police presence.

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Credit Ryan Heinsius
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Signs reading "Disarm Hate" were held by several members of the crowd at the Thursday night vigil.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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