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New York's Stonewall Inn To Host Vigil In Honor Of Orlando Victims


As the investigation continues into the Orlando shooter, people around the country are also gathering to mourn the victims and support the LGBT community. Many people have been meeting at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York. Stonewall's considered the birthplace of the gay rights movement. It was the scene of riots in the late '60s, and it remains an important gathering place for members of the community.

New York City's mayor and the state's governor are headed there this evening for a vigil. Jessica Gould of member station WNYC is there now. Thanks for being with us.


MCEVERS: First just tell us a little bit about Stonewall's place in New York. It's kind of become a gathering place in the best of times and the worst of times for the LGBT community, right?

GOULD: Yeah, it absolutely has. I mean, I was here almost exactly a year ago when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, and it was just such an exciting time for the community. There was - it had, like, a festival atmosphere - flowers and balloons and rainbow flags and couples who were gay and straight with their kids talking about this as a turning point. So as you can imagine, the gathering today is very different.

MCEVERS: As people started getting the news out of Orland yesterday, people were gathering at Stonewall. And what was that scene like?

GOULD: So hundreds of people came last night, and it looks like it's going to be the same tonight. They've been placing flowers over by the entrance to Stonewall. And some people are crouched that are crying as they put the flowers down. They've also started inscribing in chalk the names of the victims. And there's a deep sadness as well as some messages of anger - real anger.

MCEVERS: What are people saying?

GOULD: Well, people are saying that they really want this to be seen as a hate crime as well as an act of terrorism. They're worried about officials who don't articulate that, and they're saying that, you know, compared to last year when there was this sense of a turning point in the movement, they're saying this year it just feels like the struggle goes on and on.

MCEVERS: Elected official are due there at Stonewall this evening. What else are people gathered there - what else do they want to hear from officials?

GOULD: They want to hear that they're standing with them. They also want to hear, I've heard, statements in support of gun control, which our governor, Cuomo, articulated yesterday and may be a message that comes out tonight and of course, again, that this was a hate crime and should be treated as such.

MCEVERS: The attack in Orlando is still so recent. Are the people you're talking to - do they seem afraid?

GOULD: So I've heard mixed responses to that. There's a heavy police presence here - a lot of uniformed officers with big guns walking around, a dozen just standing at the subway and more scattered throughout the crowd. But people tell me - some people say here in New York they feel safe, and they're trying to stand in solidarity with people who are maybe not as safe. And then some people say they felt scared for as long as they've been out and that they continue to feel fearful. I talked to a couple who said they didn't go to work today because they just wanted to support each other and feel safe in each other's arms.

MCEVERS: Jessica Gould is with member station WNYC in New York. She's at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Thanks a lot.

GOULD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.