Vigil at Four Corners on Wednesday to remember Orlando nightclub victims


BENNINGTON — The 49 people killed in an Orlando, Fla. nightclub will be remembered today at a local vigil.

Organizer Julia Humphreys said she is encouraging attendees to show peace and unity at the event, which will be held at the Four Corners intersection starting at 7 p.m.

The hope is to give the public a chance to mourn the loss of those who were killed, according to Humphreys, while showing solidarity with the families and LGBTQ community.

"A lot of people need something to hold onto right now," she told the Banner on Tuesday. "Coming together to mourn the victims publicly can help bring closure."

She described the event as relatively informal. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own candle to light at the vigil. Signs of support and remembererance are also welcome.

Humphreys said that, per the town, attendees are asked to not block traffic, whether it be in the roads or on the sidewalks.

Humphries said she frequents a nightclub in Northampton, Mass. that, like the Pulse in Orlando, Fla., is "acceptable of everyone." It's a sad time for people who frequent those spaces, she said.

"It hit a lot of us deeply," she said.

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 more were wounded on Sunday at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The nightclub is popular among the lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender, queer or questioning, or LGBTQ, community.

Among them, according to news reports: Luis Vielma, 22, who worked as an attraction opperator at Universal Studios; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35, and Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37, a couple who had known each other for a decade; and Capt. Antonio Davon Brown, 29, of the U.S. Army Reserve.

The gunman, a 29-year-old American citizen of Afghan descent, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call made during the siege. Police said the shooter opened fire with an assault-type rifle and a handgun at about 2 a.m. Sunday.

Humphreys spoke about supporting the members of the LGBTQ community. It's their familiy members, she said, that they've lost so suddenly.

"Everyone is looking for someone to blame," Humphreys said. But she stressed a need for people to mourn, rather than place blame and foster anger and hate.

"That's the last thing we need right now."

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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