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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.