SAYVILLE - A moment of silence for the Orlando shooting victims was held Sunday at a Sayville rally that had been planned in response to the cancellation of a pride parade.
As News 12 has reported, the long-running LGBT pride parade in Huntington was put on hiatus this year due to staffing issues, although PrideFest was still held Saturday in Heckscher Park. In response to the parade cancellation, the Long Island LGBTQA Visibility Coalition had organized a "March for Visability" Sunday.
Emotions were changed at Sunday's march in the wake of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Florida that killed 50 people. Attendees said the anger over the canceled parade remains, but pales in comparison to the sadness of knowing that the deadliest mass shooting in US history took place at a gay nightclub.
Matt Martin, of Farmingville, says members of the LGBTQ community are used to being the targets of violence, but not on this scale. "It's scary because it could have been any of us," Martin says.
March organizer Erinn Furey, of the Long Island LGBTQA Visibility Coalition, says canceling Sunday's event was not an option. "One of the reasons we, in light of the tragedy in Orlando, still decided to march today, is because the LGBTQ community unfortunately is no stranger to violence," Furey says.
David Kilmnick, who is the CEO of the Woodbury based LGBT Network, released a statement in reaction to the mass shooting, reading in part, "As we celebrate pride across our nation this month, this should be a call to the entire country to join together to fight hate and discrimination against all races, ethnicities, sexual orientation and gender identities."