Each and every name of each and every victim is read aloud.
Beautiful names. Names given and learned and loved.
A flower placed for each victim. A flower placed by members of a community who have wept and cared and prayed for strangers across the country.
I watch this and as the tears start to flow all I can think is that there are too many damn flowers on that table.
Fifty seems like a lot and it looks like even more when you see blossom piled upon blossom.
I attended a vigil for the Orlando tragedy tonight, organized and hosted by the local LGBT+ community. I attended to be a part of a community, I attended for solidarity and support, I attended because my heart is broken with my country.
I stood beside a couple that was two women, who silently wept and held each other, and when a speaker called for us to reach out to one another as a show of solidarity, and one of them held her hand out to me I eagerly accepted it and held on tight in the cooling evening.
The entire circle of roughly a couple hundred people reached out to one another and held on tight.
The tragedy of what happened on Sunday didn’t really hit me until tonight, and there are just no words to express how terrible of a thing has been done.
And yet, in the midst of this, I have never felt more a part of the community of Coeur d’Alene than I did tonight.
To any friends of mine who are a part of the LGBT+ community, I know you feel hated, I know you feel rejected, I know you are targeted, I know you are a minority.
But I also know that you are loved, and you are valued, and you are needed. You are unique and beautiful human beings.
For every person that stands up and spews hatred, there will be a sea of people rising up to engulf them, to say you are wanted, and you are loved, and I want you to know that I will be a wave in that sea.
No more flags at half-mast.
No more of these damn flowers piled on black tables.