Rhode Island joined communities across the country last night with a vigil commemorating the victims of the Orlando nightclub attacks.
Bearing candles, hundreds of people, flanked by police cars, marched from a gay nightclub in downtown Providence to the Statehouse. On the steps, they stood under the statehouse dome, which was illuminated in rainbow lights.
Among those gathered was Leanne Morgan, who said the attacks highlighted the dangers still faced by members of the LGBT community.
“It’s terrifying and horrible to know that something like this can still happen and people have so much hatred towards our community,” said Morgan. “We’re trying to be just like everyone else and love people just like everybody else loves people.”
Still, Morgan said the show of solidarity has been heartening.
“It’s been amazing to see so many people come out in one single night, when this only happened a couple days ago,” said Morgan. “And it’s been awesome, makes me feel good to live here in Providence.”
At one point, an impromptu singing of Amazing grace broke out, as a voice in the crowd called out the lyrics. Some people held rainbow flags, others signs demanding an end to hatred. Most held small candles, creating a sea of flickering light.
Bonnie Norton drove an hour from Massachusetts to take part in the vigil.
“I’ve been really scared over the past few days, and I haven’t had a lot of people in my personal life who’ve been around who I can really talk to, or who feels the same way I do, so it’s really nice to see,” said Norton.
Governor Gina Raimondo is expected to speak at a second vigil, scheduled for tonight at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence.