More vigils planned as hundreds in Charlotte show support for Orlando

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hundreds of people gathered at Bar 316 Monday night in the South End to stand in strength and solidarity with Orlando, Florida, and it's just one of the ways the city of Charlotte is showing its support.

"For everyone in Orlando, you're not alone,” Girard Vidal, with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department homicide support group, said. “You will never be alone."

People at the bar stood in silence, prayed and sang the day after the nation's worst-ever mass shooting took place at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Northwest Cabarrus HS graduate among victims of Orlando shooting
 
"This is not a problem in Florida," Vidal said. "It's a global problem of disrespect."

“I feel your tears, I hear your crying,” community member Tommy Feldman said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police homicide support groupninvited the community to join together.

“I empathize with you,” Kyle Goodson, the mother of a homicide victim, said. “I feel your pain. I know what you're going through. I remember they day I had to make funeral arrangements for my son.”

It was also a call for action.

“You must go out there and have an impact on crime,” Vidal said. “It can happen here.”

As the sun went down, Bar 316 hosted a vigil.

“This horrific act did happen at a gay bar and so we want to show that here we're not scared, we're not afraid,” Feldman said.

Leaders in Charlotte's LGBT community spoke and participants lit candles for the victims also offering a message moving forward.

“I think often time, we forget how vulnerable we are as people,” vigil organizer Shane Windmayer said. “We just need to first and foremost stand up for each other and treat each other with dignity and respect.”

Those who spoke at the vigil encouraged people to donate blood, money and anything else they can to help the Orlando victims and keep fighting for equality for the LGBT community.

Tuesday vigil planned in uptown

There will be an interfaith vigil for the Orlando victims in uptown Charlotte Tuesday evening.

Members of the Muslim and LGBT community will speak to show their unity and call for peace.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts will also speak.

The vigil starts at 6 p.m. at Saint Peter's Episcopal Church at the corner of 7th and Tryon streets.

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