Local memorials, vigils honor Orlando shooting victims

People across North Texas are showing their support for the families and friends of the Orlando shooting victims.

The collection of flowers, candles and notes around the Legacy of Love Memorial in Oak Lawn continues to grow. The Dallas Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community has certainly seen its share of hate crimes with recent attacks in the Oak Lawn area.

Many believe the attack in Orlando could have easily happened here. They said they are scared and angry, but they are not defeated.

“I think this is really a wake-up call to the hateful and hurtful rhetoric that we continue to hear about LGBT communities and toward LGBT people. Those comments, however benign they may be or however passive they may be intended, have real world consequences,” said Waylon Tate, with the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said this act of terrorism is a tragic illustration of the legitimate safety fears those in the LGBT community live with every day.

Both he and the police chief of Dallas quickly expressed sympathy for the shooting victims and promised to support and protect people here in North Texas.

There was a heavy police presence at a vigil the Oak Lawn neighborhood of Dallas Sunday night. Officers walked with the crowd as it marched down Cedar Springs Road, but there was no suspicious activity.

Members of the LBGT community, along with their straight allies, huddled around the entrance of the Dallas Resource Center to hear a message of hope and faith.

“My heart shattered. It shattered and the higher the number rose the more pieces it broke in to and I just felt the need to be with people I felt would understand what I was feeling,” said Portia Cantrell, who lives in Dallas.

Several more candlelight vigils are planned Monday across North Texas.

Celebration Community Church in Fort Worth is holding a vigil Monday at 7 p.m. The pastor of the church said the message will be one of love, healing and moving forward.

Also, there will be a “Share the Love” gathering at Enos Pizza Tavern in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas at 9 p.m. Monday.