Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community gathered in a park in a Southeast area of Albuquerque Sunday evening in solidarity with the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Hundreds of people gathered while local politicians and advocates spoke out against violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ community. University of New Mexico LGBTQ Resource Center Director Alma Rosa Silva-Bañuelos opened the somber and tearful event by addressing the Orlando shooting. Related: Photos: Albuquerque gathers for vigil for victims of Orlando
“We lost our family this morning and that’s why we’re gathering here today,” Rosa Silva-Bañuelos said. “If you’re sad it’s okay because it shouldn’t be happening in 2016.”
Rosa Silva-Bañuelos repeated a common sentiment that these bars and clubs are often a place of comfort for a community that may not have another place to go.