In response to the horrific mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, community members held a vigil at the Soldier’s Monument in Jamaica Plain on Sunday afternoon.
“I think in times like this it is important to come together with the community,” said Lauren Doty, one of the organizers, who said it was extremely difficult to go from celebrating gay pride and acceptance at Saturday’s Boston Pride Parade to then facing the antithesis. “At the same time, I know my reality of a white cis queer person is much safer day to day than that of people of color and members of the trans community,” she said.
Hosting a vigil in Jamaica Plain, Doty said, made sense, especially given Sunday’s nearby Boston Pride LGBT block party in Hyde Square. “Being here on the 39 bus route, people can stop and have a moment,” she said.
Shortly after 5 p.m., Doty thanked the gathered crowd for attending the vigil. “It’s Pride Week. We always anticipate Pride being a place where we can be safe and be who we are,” she said. It was horrific, then, to wake up to the news of the Orlando shootings, which serve as a reminder of the oppression LGBT and racial minorities face daily, she said.
Doty also warned against a backlash targeting Muslims. “It’s time for us to stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors and community members. There is no room for Islamophobia in the queer movement,” she said. She read out loud a statement from the group Queer Muslims of Boston, which expressed regret at being unable to send official representation to the vigil, but stated “we and our allies are horrified by the attacks in Orlando,” and conveyed hope that Muslim communities would take this tragedy as an opportunity to listen to LGBT community members.
Finally, Doty urged the crowd to recognize that their work is never done. “This is a time for us to take action and mobilize … Tomorrow, we create and force change, force politicians to be different, in any way we can.”
Rev. Laura Ruth Jarrett, pastor at Hope Central Church on Seaverns Avenue, led the gathered vigilers in prayer.