Hundred of people gathered outside The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street yesterday afternoon to pay their respects to the victims of the horrific shooting at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse early Sunday morning. Queer Nation organizer Ken Kidd told the crowd outside the bar: "We come today because we want to value the people who were lost in Orlando....We come today for the past. We come today for the present. And we come today because we are a community that will never be silent again!" Outside the bar, people dropped off flowers and votive candles under a sign with the words "stop the hate" written in red letters. One attendee added 50 flowers to the pile in front of the tavern — one for each victim. Armed NYPD officers monitored the scene during the gathering outside the bar.
A police raid at The Stonewall Inn in 1969 sparked a series of historic protests from the LGBT community. The Greenwich Village tavern is widely regarded as the birthplace of the gay rights movement. The Stonewall Inn was granted city landmark status last year, and work is underway to make the bar a national monument. The bar's proprietor Stacy Letz told CBS yesterday: "This is a place where the community comes to celebrate, and it's a place where the community comes to mourn."
Yesterday afternoon, Mayor de Blasio explained that the city was beefing up security in gay communities and around LGBT landmarks throughout the NYC area. The mayor told reporters: "We are vigilant. We have deployed our critical response command and our strategic response groups, so you’ll see a lot of additional police presence on the streets of the city."
The Independent notes that another candlelight vigil will be held outside the tavern this evening.