CORTLAND, N.Y. – A remembrance walk for the 49 victims of a recent mass shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, drew more than 200 people to downtown Cortland Wednesday evening.
The event, which was organized by the Cortland LGBT Resource Center, began at Courthouse Park with opening remarks from Mayor Brian Tobin, who emphasized the importance of community in times of tragedy.
“When we come together as a community and we start thinking about the things we can do, that’s what’s important,” Tobin said. “Even if you did not know somebody, a tragedy of this magnitude, it hits us.”
Several speakers then took turns reciting the names of the 49 victims. With such local figures as Mayor Brian Tobin and SUNY Cortland President Erik Bitterbaum present, the crowd then walked in silence to the Grace and Holy Spirit Church on Court Street, where Rev. Peter Williams delivered a passionate sermon as onlookers stood in the street.
“In the coming days and weeks, we know our political leaders will debate solutions and then do nothing, as they always do” Williams said. “Lord, tonight, we ask that you grant us a voice to speak truth to power, to our neighbors, to every church and house of worship in this nation.”
Chelsea Moroski, project coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center, delivered closing remarks outside the center’s office on Main Street.
“We’ve heard a lot of really powerful words tonight,” Moroski said. “I could not have anticipated a better outcome. I am moved beyond words.”