People Gather in DTLA and WeHo to Mourn Orlando Victims

West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister speaking at the Orlando vigil on Monday at Mickys bar. (Photo by Jon Viscott).
West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister speaking at the Orlando vigil on Monday at Mickys bar. (Photo by Jon Viscott).

Several thousand people, including singer Lady Gaga, gathered outside Los Angeles City Hall tonight for a vigil in memory of the people killed during a weekend shooting spree at a gay/lesbian nightclub in Orlando, Fla. In West Hollywood, several hundred people came together at Micky’s, the bar on Santa Monica Boulevard, for a similar vigil.

Lady Gaga, the 30-year-old pop star, long an advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, addressed the crowd and began a reading of the known victims’ names.

“I know that you all here have been feeling a tremendous range of emotions since we heard about this horrible, painful attack in Orlando and on your and our community,” she said, sometimes in tears and noting the massacre was the worst mass shooting in American history.

“I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes … this is an attack on humanity itself, this is an attack on everyone.

“Tonight, I gather here with you as a human being — in peace, in sincerity, in commitment, in solidarity — to take a real moment and mourn the tragic loss of these innocent, beautiful people.”

Organized by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the event also served as a rally “in solidarity to stand for peace, for community and for Orlando,” according to organizers.

At Micky’s, speakers included Keith Kaplan, chair of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Lauren Meister, Capt. Holly Perez of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station and Donna Finkelstein, a member of the board of Women Against Gun Violence. WAGV is a group focused on gun violence as a women’s issue and on violence prevention on a community level.

City Councilmember John D’Amico also attended the event. Council members John Duran and John Heilman attended the Los Angeles City Hall event and Councilmember Lindsey Horvath was at a conference in Washington, D.C. ¬†Duran spoke at the L.A. City Hall event.

At the Micky’s vigil, each of the speakers deplored the Orlando massacre, in which 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub on Sunday morning by a gunman who was later fatally shot by police. Some 300 candles were lit and a moment of silence was declared in memory of those who died. Meister called on the crowd to write to federal legislators demanding they increase gun regulation.

Perez also talked about the last-minute decisions made on Sunday after the arrest of a heavily armed man in Santa Monica who said he was going to attend the LA Pride event in West Hollywood. Earlier, at a meeting of the city’s Public Safety Commission, Perez said she consulted early on Sunday with members of the West Hollywood City Council and other city officials as well as with Christopher Street West, the group that manages the annual LA Pride event. Among other things, she called on the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to provide a helicopter patrol of West Hollywood to increase security. Perez said the fact that the man had been arrested and that they added extra security made her confident that the parade could go on.

Perez said she knew the decision to move forward with the parade was the right one. She said people stopped her to say they had never gone to the Pride parade this year but did on Sunday because of what happened in Orlando.

A young man who identified himself as Eddie was one of several community members who spoke at the Mickys event. He said he was from Orlando and that his parents and his sister had called after the massacre there and begged him to avoid Sunday’s LA Pride parade. “I was actually scared to be who I am,” he said. “But I told them there’s no way I cannot do this.”

Another speaker, Mike Gerle, a West Hollywood resident who works at City Hall, recalled his days as a bartender at Revolver, next door to Mickys, and how he found support as a gay man with HIV in West Hollywood.

“This is our church,” Gerle said of the city’s gay community. “This is sacred ground and we need to defend it… This is our queer village.”

The L.A. chapter of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence had an event on Sunday at Sal Guarriello Park in West Hollywood. It included a moment of silence and brief speeches. Those attending sang a song with a rabbi and then lined Santa Monica Boulevard with signs urging gun control.

A rally by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence on Sunday at Sal Guarriello Park.
A rally by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence on Sunday at Sal Guarriello Park.

More images of the vigil at Mickys, provided by photographer Jon Viscott, are on the pages that follow:


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Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

Too bad we can’t be two places at once. I opted for DTLA but I wish the two events were on different nights. On one hand I wanted to be in WeHo with my friends and neighbors but on the other I felt there was a need to join a wider family gathering down town. I heard Lauren Meister speak on Sunday at the opening of the Pride Parade and her words while delivered in her typical low key manner, they where powerful and soothing at the same time. I saw a number of WeHo folks at the DTLA rally… Read more »

Mike Dolan
Guest
Mike Dolan

Mayor Pro Tem: John Heilman, was hosting international guests that were speaking the following day on Human Rights at our Council Chambers. Along with the principles from the Gay and Lesbian Center, these Human Rights speakers from Asia and abroad, were invited to the DTLA Candlelight Vigil, very successful and appropriate candlelight vigil; a very appropriate and far more inclusive than the Micky’s location. Councilmember Duran, was an invited speaker and gave a powerful and moving speech on the Orlando terrorist attack and was a speech that no one should have missed. As a West Hollywood resident, I was proud… Read more »

AM
Guest
AM

Heilman has always used his council seat for self serving personal reasons & Duran’s hopes for political advancement are dead in the water. They are both at a political dead end but both still ego driven & delusional. Of course they went to the event downtown, both looking for personal publicity. Pathetic. Neither of them should run again. What will they do with their lives when they lose their seats next March & there are no vacated seats to temporarily fill? West Hollywood should no longer suffer while subsidizing Heilman’s & Duran’s personal delusions

Josh Kurpies
Guest
Josh Kurpies

Wow, even in these moments of solidarity and unity, people within our own community are trying to divide us. I didn’t attend either of the two rallies, what does that make me?

Tragic events like the deadly Pulse shooting should not create walls in our community, they should tear them down. This may surprise some people, but lgbtq youth all over LA County, Southern California and even throughout the country look to WeHo Council (whether it be the city’s first mayor or it’s current one) in times like this for inspiration, motivation, confidence and leadership.

Larry Block.
Guest
Larry Block.

Of the council members.. only D’Amico and Meister put local citizens and the people they represent ahead of their own plans or ambitions at the state or federal level. Duran was downtown. Heilman was downtown. Horvath was in DC.

Scott T Imler
Guest
Scott T Imler

Once again we gather at the tri-way of death, despair, and democracy for another rally, another parade, another music festival — to mourn our victimization, to blow our trumpet call to mourn, to blame, to fight back, to overcome — and then it’s back to work, back to shopping, back to the nightlife, and back to selecting the next leader of the free world, who will promise it all and deliver the same, until once again we gather . . . . in PRIDE ?

Williams
Guest
Williams

Durran was at the DTLA event. I am not a fan of his as a West Hollywood Council-member he is costing us millions with more lawsuits on the way. BUT he was wonderful and the man he was years ago. I did NOT want to like what he said but he was on point. To be fair, he moved us and reminded us that we are fighters. Heilman and Durran years ago were great leaders.

scottzwartz
Guest

It did not take too long to figure out that Omar Mateen was Gay. That was obvious before the media released the information that Omar Mateen had been going to Pulse for years. The only surprise was that Omar was so far out of the closet — but still tormented by his family’s vile homophobia which had been reflected by many of America’s political and religious leaders. Then after repeal of DTDT and the Supreme Court Gay Marriage Decision, America started to hate Muslims more than it hated Gays, which of course did not make Omar feel very welcome in… Read more »

Woody McBreairty
Guest
Woody McBreairty

Not surprised that Heilman & Duran opted for the more visible downtown event. I presume they both figured, you know, it was more worthy of their high profile political status. Some things never change.