Hundreds gather to remember Orlando victims

Hundreds gather to remember Orlando victims

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Hundreds gathered Wednesday evening in downtown Shreveport to remember the senseless violence in Orlando that claimed 49 lives and left 53 others wounded.

The vigil, hosted by members of the LGBT community, including bars, organizations, clubs and many others, was held in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse.

The heat and humidity did little to keep people from attending the emotional gathering.

PACE, which stands for People Acting for Change and Equality, helped organize the vigil. The group describes itself at Louisiana's leading advocacy organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

The group was joined by clubs, including Central Station, the Korner Lounge and Mylestone Bar to hold the candlelight vigil.

Such places have served as a "safe haven" for the LGBT community when other places offered rejection.

Earlier Wednesday, another ceremony recognized those lost in the deadly Orlando shooting.

Dozens gathered at St. Matthew AME Church on Murphy St. in Shreveport. The service included prayers for the victims and their families, along with prayers for the City of Orlando and its leaders.

"As Christians, a lot of times we're seen as being judgmental, but in an arena like this, it doesn't matter what your faith is, what your religion is, what your orientation is. It comes back down to that 49 people lost their lives," said church member Faison Autrey.

Those who turned out say showing support like this sends a message to the victims and their families that people care about what's happening to them in their time of grief, no matter how far away they are from the tragedy.

At least 2 more vigils are planned in the ArkLaTex to remember the Orlando victims.

Thursday evening, Texas A&M University in Texarkana will host a community-wide candlelight vigil. The gathering will start at 8:30 p.m. on the pond side patio in front of the University Center.

On Friday, "Marshall Against Violence" will hold a prayer vigil and balloon release.

Cards will be available to sign for victims still recovering in an Orlando hospital.

The gathering is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the east parking lot of the historical courthouse in downtown Marshall, Texas.

Those attending are asked to bring balloons.

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