On a rainy June night in downtown Norfolk, more than 125 people gathered at the Wells Theater to grieve, remember and support one another on the second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre.
Initially planned as a march from downtown Norfolk’s TCC plaza to Wisconsin Square located on the banks of the Elizabeth River, yesterday’s event was moved to the Wells Theater due to inclement weather and a last minute change to the march permit. Throughout the lobby and stage areas of the Wells Theater were large posters featuring portrait of each victim of the massacre. A slideshow of the event can be found below.
The event was planned by Connor Norton, Amy St. George and Sarah Hustead in memory of the 49 persons killed at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016. According to the event planners social media page, the event was also “planned as an act of defiance to the fear and terror our (the LGBTQ) community felt that night; queer members of the Hampton Roads community and their allies will march the streets to demand visibility and recognition of our pain and suffering, and ask the entire Hampton Roads Community to grieve and create a space for all of us to feel welcomed, heard, and seen.”
Sarah Hustead made welcoming remarks and introduced a video featuring a music and spoken word performance dedicated to Pulse victims. Following the video, Connor Norton introduced Amy St. George, who gave remarks reminding attendees about why the event was planned and about our inherent privilege and continued work facing the LGBTQ community. Included was the following statememt,
“We planned this event because the change that was promised us has not yet come, and every day, we are grieving more and more of our own. So we created a space where all queer and trans folks would be welcome to gather, and grieve, and honor those we’ve lost. A space where you can find your people, and together with them, demand that your community see and hear your grief, and recognize that they need to put their money where their mouths are, and take action to make that change happen. Because I don’t want to lose more of us,” Amy St. George
To read St. George’s entire speech, you may find a transcript HERE.
Following St. George’s remarks, Ricardo Melendez, Associate Artistic Director at Todd Rosenlieb Dance, Artistic Director-Virginia Ballet Theatre and the Virginia Ballet Theatre Ensemble read the names of all 49 Pulse victims set against a video showcasing photos of each victim.
After the reading of the victim’s names, Oceanview resident, Mariela Crespo Williams, also known as “Cookie” and first cousin to Pulse victim Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, shared stories about her cousin and the importance of family support to all LGBTQ persons.
Norton, St. George and Hustead then gave final remarks, thanking attendees, the Wells Theater and area businesses for their support. At the beginning of the event, attendees were given white carnations and flameless candles, they were then invited to place a flower and candle at the base of one of the 49 victim portraits placed in the Wells Theater.
Following the end of the event, a group of attendees marched in the light rain to Wisconsin Square on the banks of the Elizabeth River where they had a moment of silence and tossed their white carnations into the river as a memorial.
This was the third commemoration and memorial of the Pulse Nightclub killings and organizers plan on holding a similar event in years to come. You may watch the entire event via video at the link below.
Special thanks to Sarah Hustead, Amy St. George, Connor Norton and Beth Brooker for use of their photography in slideshow.
A live recording of the event may be watched below.
Posted by Outwire757 on Tuesday, June 12, 2018