Latino community holds Spanish vigil for Pulse shooting victims

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PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Hundreds of people came out to sing, cry and remember the 49 victims of the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in the first all-Spanish vigil at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Friday. 

The majority of the victims killed in the June 12 massacre were overwhelmingly Latino, and nearly half  of them were Puerto Rican.
PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
The "Orlando Unido" vigil, organized by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Metro Orlando, was attended by elected officials, including Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan. 

"I learned Spanish today," she tells the crowd with a laugh. "I am here in representation of the LGBT community of Orlando, who is sharing this pain. Our community will be united forever because of this tragedy."
PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Adrian López and Javier Nava, two survivors of the shooting, were also present at the vigil. López says he escaped only with bruises, but Nava, who Fusion reported as having a bullet lodged in his abdomen, was using a walker. Six of López's friends died at the club on a night he describes as being happy and fun before the bullets started flying. 

"My message to you is we can go on," López says. "We are gong to suffer, but in our hearts we still have the good memories they left. Together we are going to change the world." 
PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Ambiorix Aracena, the father of victim Oscar Aracena-Montero, 26, tells the crowd he wanted to thank the city of Orlando, his family and his son's friends for helping him get through this difficult time. 

"You have not left us alone," he says. "You've given us so much. Because of the death of my son, I've met so many beautiful people in these past days and so many that have helped us."
PHOTO BY MONIVETTE CORDEIRO
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro



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