By Mark Weyermuller -
Chicago's Center on Halsted was the site Monday night of a prayer vigil for the victims of the nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. Over 1000 people attended this service with an overflow of people forcing street closures in front of the Chicago Community Center which caters to the LGBT community in the Boystown neighborhood.
There was a makeshift shrine next to the building with flowers, candles, and notes. People could also sign a condolence card on a huge bed sheet spread across several tables. I took a moment to sign a message of support. There was a large line to view this and sign with a magic marker.
Two blocks west, the flag on the Wrigley Field scoreboard was at half-staff. President Obama ordered all American flags to be flown at half-staff this week.
Speakers included Mayor Rahm Emanuel along with local Alderman Tom Tunney and James Cappleman in this hour long service. The Mayor said, "Where there is hate, we in the city of Chicago bring live." There was a variety of songs and prayers. One speaker said, "if there was ever a year to wave a rainbow flag, this is it." The general theme was to fight hate with love.
The mayor greeted people afterwards as the crowd was very somber. Emanuel was in no hurry to leave, shaking hands and posing for photos, until a lady approached him starting to rant,"Why did you take my funding?" at which point he headed to his Suburban.
June is called Pride month with a variety of activities in Chicago. This weekend is Pridefest with street closures on Halsted between Addison and Grace with booths, entertainment, food, and an appearance by singer and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.
Sunday June 26, 2016 is the Chicago Pride Parade which is attended by over a million people. This year these events will have special meaning in memory of the victims. President Obama said, "An attack on any American…is an attack on all Americans."
There is an increased police presence in the area with the events coming up. Everybody is on edge with an attack like this. There is a feeling of hope and love which has people in Chicago wanting to show their support to the people in Orlando. There is also a feeling of anger and frustration of how this can happen.
Mark Weyermuller is a small business person, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist and regular contributor to Illinois Review. Mark can be heard weekly on the radio in a "man in the street segment" at 10:31pm as a regular guest on the Stephanie Trussell Show heard Sunday nights 9pm-midnight on WLS 890-AM .
Thanks for being a witness to ORLANDO tragedy support ralley. An independent media is our best voice for maintaining freedom for any gathering of support. In addition to the victims we must also recognize and praise the civilian first responders who were there!