DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Greater Dayton LGBT Center held a public vigil for the Orlando shooting victims Thursday night in the city’s downtown.
Hundreds of people marched from local gay nightclubs on Jefferson street to Courthouse Square waving pride flags and holding hands to show solidarity.
Several local LGBT leaders and city officials spoke words of comfort to help the community heal.
Dayton mayor Nan Whaley, told the crowd she reached out to the city of Orlando’s mayor and read part of his letter.
“We will not be defined by the act of a cowardly hater. We will be defined by how we respond and how we treat each other,” Whaley read.
Dayton police chief Richard Biehl and Lieutenant Wendy Stiver took turns reading the names of the 49 people killed in Orlando. As names were read, candles were lit in remembrance.
PFLAG Dayton president, Jan Couchman also took to the podium to share a message of hope, strength and love.
“This shows just what the Dayton community can do when we try. When we come together and we celebrate each other. This shows what the Dayton community can do. Let’s hang together from here on out and make sure our brothers and sisters are welcomed and loved,” Couchman said.
The local support for Orlando victims continues. On Thursday, Therapy Cafe in downtown Dayton will be holding a fundraiser for those affected by the mass shooting at 8PM.