Leaders of the Orlando LGBTQ+ community installed a memorial strand of prayer ribbons gifted to the city by residents of Provincetown, Massachusetts, in front of Orlando City Hall Friday afternoon.
Jay Critchley, the founder and director of Provincetown Community Compact, says his city felt an immediate connection to Orlando after the Pulse tragedy. “We had experienced tragedy as well because many, many people from Provincetown had died of HIV/AIDS and the community became a national model for how to respond to a crisis,” he says.
This marks the third year in a row that the Provincetown Community Compact and residents of Provincetown have given Orlando a strand of such ribbons. Black ribbons honor the 49 victims of the Pulse tragedy, and colorful ones feature messages to survivors, family and those lost to AIDS.
The prayer ribbons will remain on display in front of Orlando City Hall until June 16.
“For the third year in a row, the community of Provincetown, Massachusetts is bringing these beautiful prayer ribbons to show their compassion, love, and solidarity with our Orlando community,” said Luis Martínez, of the city of Orlando's Office of Multicultural Affairs. “We encourage our community to stop by and see these beautiful, colorful prayer ribbons.”
Prayer ribbons from Provincetown were first displayed at Harry P. Leu Gardens and in front of Orlando City Hall following the tragedy in 2016. According to a press release, the ribbons served as a reminder that cities around the country supported Orlando after the tragedy.
“I think that as a community, we are stronger than ever,” Martínez said. “We are looking forward to continuing being united and embracing the inclusion in our community.”
“There’s always power in community,” Chritchley said. “That’s what I’ve noticed here in Orlando is that the city has become a model for bringing people together and inclusiveness - not just the LGBT community, but the city. People are looking to Orlando for leadership, especially as we face a very racist and misogynist culture, so Compact is really honored to be here to bring the message of these ribbons to just add it to all of what you are doing here.”
The onePULSE Foundation Memorial and Museum will host its annual remembrance ceremony on Wednesday night, which will mark the third anniversary of the tragedy.
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