Vigils in Albany, Schenectady offer healing

June 14, 2016 09:42 AM

People in the Capital Region gathered in both Albany and Schenectady to honor those killed and to spread a message of peace. Just like the people, the rainbow symbol showed up in all shapes and sizes.

Among those gathering in West Capitol Park to show solidarity for the massacre in Orlando, a man who grew up in Florida, came out in Florida and now calls Albany home.

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"When you look at the list keep in mind that these were people of color that were murdered for living their truth,” said Christian Williams.

Organized by the Pride Center, hundreds turned out in Albany to both grieve and heal.

“In this day we're all home on our cell phones and our iPads in solitude but when something like this happens we really need community," said Michael Weidrich, Executive Director & CEO of the Pride Center of the Capital Region. "Even though this event happened down in Florida, it could have happened here as much as any other city in the United States. A united community really deters such activity."

"It's easy to find a scapegoat and someone to blame but it is system level changes that need to be made not just an individual or attributed to an individual group or religion, things need to be changed on a national and global level,” said Phillip Burse of In Our Own Voices.

At about the same time of the Albany candlelight vigil, over in Schenectady there was a prayer vigil inside City Hall – offering comfort.

"That's what it's all about,” said Angelicia Morris of the Human Rights Commission MLK Jr. “Bringing people together in unity, in love."

"There's a phrase that says life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” said Jason Cooper of the City Reach Schenectady. “Nowhere in that document is the word death."

And outside on the steps of City Hall, a symbol literally laced in solidarity: Kyrie Kosloski's rainbow colored Converse Pride Sneakers.

"I'm sure a lot of people are going to be more afraid to go out,” she said. “What if me and my friends were out in Albany and someone decided to do that. That'd be my friends. People I consider family.

"Just because I'm gay I wouldn't judge a man and a woman holding hands. I don't care about that. That's their business, nobody else's. Who cares. I don't know why everyone just can't be happy."

Said Williams: "I want all of my brothers and sisters that are Muslim to know that I stand with them and that our community stands with them and we're not going to let this moment be defined by hatred toward them or any other groups of people."


John Craig

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