The heartbreaking mass shooting that occurred this weekend at an Orlando nightclub has left the world in utter shock over a hate crime that took the lives of 49 people and injured at least 53 more. Responding to the unthinkable tragedy, public figures and celebrities have spoken up to rally support and encourage peace, love and acceptance during this difficult time. Everyone from Beyoncé to John Legend to Allison Williams posted to social media with their condolences and suggestions of how to help. President Obama delivered a moving address Sunday morning, painting a powerful picture of the senselessness with which this act was carried out:
“This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends—our fellow Americans—who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub—it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds and to advocate for their civil rights.”
Later Sunday evening, the Tony Awards continued as planned and several tributes were paid to the victims. Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda delivered an emotional speech while accepting his honor for best original score in which he recited a beautiful sonnet:
“We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger We rise and fall and light from dying embers Remembrances that hope and love lasts long And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love Cannot be killed or swept aside.”
“This was also an act of hate. The gunman attacked an LGBT nightclub during Pride Month. To the LGBT community: Please know that you have millions of allies across our country. I am one of them. We will keep fighting for your right to live freely, openly and without fear. Hate has absolutely no place in America.”
At a vigil held in Los Angeles Monday night, Lady Gaga delivered a tearful speech honoring the victims:
“Lost members of the LGBT community: I hope you know that myself and so many are your allies. Not only me, but everyone here, we represent the compassion and the loyalty of millions of people around the world that believe in you. You are not alone. You are not alone. Tomorrow, I hope that we all race thoughtfully and loudly towards solutions. But tonight, and right now, Orlando, we are united with you. And we are here to remember.”
Angered and heartbroken, many people have cried out that prayers are not enough. There are ways to give back, whether it be monetary donations (such as this GoFundMe for victim support) or giving blood. CNN posted this article with ways to support, and the below graphic outlines additional means to aid the cause.
Our hearts go out to the victims of this immense tragedy and their families.