On Monday night, mourners from New York and around the world came together to honor and memorialize the victims of the Orlando shooting
, and remind themselves that "love beats hate."Refinery29 was at New York's historic Stonewall Inn
as hundreds of people turned out to shine a light for the victims of early Sunday morning shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando that left 49 dead.
The crowd, packed tightly to hear the community and political leaders who spoke at the vigil, stretched for several city blocks. People leaned on fire escapes, climbed poles, and perched on frighteningly narrow building ledges to watch the vigil. Above the crowd, rainbow flags and transgender banners flew.
Attendees spoke of what the vigil meant to them. “We’re really here to say, ‘I see you. It’s not gone unnoticed, it’s not gone unheard,’” said Rosa Scheppers, 27. "It's just a testament that the world over is looking at us," she said.
Her friend Julie Kim, 25, said that she had felt shocked and devastated by the news of the shooting, but seeing the crowds that came to mourn and support each other was a positive thing. "I think it shows that there's more love than hate," she said. "People are going to stand together as a community to fight for what we believe in."
At moments, the crowd shifted from sad to angry, to proud and occasionally even funny. Before the speeches, one group of attendees put a spin on an old cry.
"We're here, we're queer!" they yelled. "We're fab-u-lous, don't fuck-with-us!"
But anger at the tragedy simmered just below the surface. While the crowd and speakers demanded answers to issues like gun safety and pushed back against attempts to blame Islam for the attacks, they more than anything demanded recognition for those who had died
The hour of speeches by politicians and LGBTQ community leaders were interrupted by repeated cries for the leaders to "say their names." As the speeches went on, the cries got louder and angrier, sometimes drowning out the official speaker. At one point, as the chant turned to a repeated demand to "go off script," as the crowd demanded to hear the victims honored.
When the names came, silence reigned.
Click through to see heartbreaking photos of the historic vigil.