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Tucsonans to hold vigil for victims of Orlando massacre

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Tucsonans to hold vigil for victims of Orlando massacre

  •  A candle is lit at the UMC memorial for victims of the Jan. 8 shooting, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011.
    Emily Jones/ A candle is lit at the UMC memorial for victims of the Jan. 8 shooting, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011.

Tucsonans will hold a march and candlelight vigil on 4th Avenue to honor the victims of this weekend's attack on a gay nightclub in Florida that killed at least 50 people and wounded scores more.

"The loss of so many of our brothers and sisters hurts my heart. For all the gains the LGBTQ community has achieved, we still face attacks in the places we go," said Adam Ragan, an organizer.

"However, we are not deterred and we will honor the memory of those lost today by continuing to work for equality," said Ragan, who works for the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation.

SAAF will hold a vigil Sunday at 8 p.m. at 522 North 4th Ave. Before the vigil, participants will gather at 7 p.m. at IBT's, a longtime LGBT bar at 616 N. 4th Ave., and walk to the vigil around 7:45 p.m., organizers said.

"Please help us spread the word as we join in solidarity and remembrance. Happening during Pride Month, a time of celebration of the diversity of our community, this tragedy takes on even more sadness," said Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN) Executive Director Scott Blades. "However, we affirm that nothing, not violence nor hatred nor terrorism, can stop the gift of love given to all of us. Tonight, a community comes together in love. Whether in person or in prayer and thought, please join us in solidarity with Orlando and with each other."

Speakers will include Blades, City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, Police Chief Chris Magnus, SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks, Abby Jensen of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance (SAGA), representatives from the Ben’s Bells Project, local faith leaders, and others.

Of the attack, which took place overnight in Orlando, Fla., at a club and community center frequented by LGBT people, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva said his "heart breaks for the victims of last night's attack, for their families and for those in hospitals now facing a long road to recovery."

This was an attack on the LGBT community during Pride Month at an iconic location for the community. Nothing could be more heinous," Grijalva said. "As our nation comes to grips with the fact that this was the single worst shooting attack in U.S. history, I urge everyone to give law enforcement the time they need to do their jobs, and the families impacted the privacy they need in this unimaginably difficult time."

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