Local groups, universities hold vigils for Orlando victims

A crowd gathers in Norfolk to remember the victims in a deadly Orlando nightclub shooting on Sunday, June 12, 2016. Credit: WAVY/Matt Gregory.

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Local groups and universities around the Hampton Roads region held vigils Monday to honor the victims in Sunday’s deadly shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The LGBT Center of Hampton Roads and ACCESS AIDS Care hosted a community conversation and rally at their Norfolk office Monday evening.

Police officers, pastors, community activists and members united outside of the W. 25th Street facility to discuss the terror act. Many proposed ways to stop the violence and spread messages of love. The need to educate youth on ideals of acceptance and tolerance was a major topic of discussion. Some attendees proposed gun control and lobbying politicians for action.

“It exceeded every expectation that we had,” said Executive Director Stacie Walls-Beegle. “We wanted to just open the dialogue and let people talk in a very safe environment, and it worked. People had passion, they had fear, they had hope, and suggestions.”

The center is offering mental health counseling to community members. Those interested can call 757-200-9198 for an appointment or visit the organization’s website.

Special Coverage: Orlando Nightclub Shooting

On Monday evening, Old Dominion University hosted a candlelight vigil on the steps of the Webb University Center. The university issued a statement on its social media pages Monday afternoon, announcing the vigil and urging the community to come together.

The Lambda Alliance at the College of William and Mary also held a candlelight vigil at the Wren Building on Monday. The student-run organization is dedicated to creating a supportive environment for the LGBTQ community.

Photos: #PrayForOrlando vigils held around the globe

The Wells Fargo Center in Norfolk was dark Monday night to honor the victims of the Orlando shooting. The building normally lights up at night, often with different colored lights that recognize a specific occasion or cause. Tonight, though, that recognition comes in its lack of lights.

Hampton Roads Pride held a vigil Sunday night for friends and families of victims of the mass shooting Sunday night in Norfolk.

The Freeman Baptist Church in Norfolk is holding a special candlelight service Wednesday evening at 5:30 for the victims in Sunday’s shooting. The church says there will be a service of prayer, silence and music.

A tolling of the church bells will conclude the service.

The City of Portsmouth is holding a vigil High Street Landing at noon on Wednesday.

“Like the rest of the country, Portsmouth is grieving,” said City Manager Dr. Lydia Patton.

Portsmouth is asking the community to honor those who have lost their lives or were injures in the shooting.


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