Community sings ‘We Shall Overcome' during Riverside vigil

Candlelight vigil held for victims of Orlando shootings

Jacksonville, Fla. – A candlelight vigil for the victims of a mass shooting in Orlando was held at 7 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Park Association in Riverside. 

Around 500 people came together in Riverside to pay respects and console each other, including many who lost loved ones in the overnight shooting. 

"I know the next few days, it is going to continue to be very, very hard for many as the realization sets in that they've lost loved ones and their friends aren't coming back," Dan Merkan of the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality said.

City leaders, community activists and religious leaders spoke on the shooting and the future of Jacksonville. The community members sang 'We Shall Overcome' for victims of the Orlando shooting.

Merkan said the goal was to bring together all walks of life, and not just members of the LGBT community. 

"We worked very, very hard to put something together so the community could have an outlet where they could feel they were being heard. So they could commiserate with each other, give each other support," Merkan said.

Many people said the vigil was a way to begin the healing process.

"This isn't just an attack on one community, it is an attack on all communities. It is an attack on humanity. And as a member of the human race, as a person of faith and love, I felt this was where I needed to be tonight," Rabbi Matt Cohen said. 

The vigil was held after at least 50 people were killed and another 53 injured early this morning at an Orlando gay nightclub when a gunman opened fire. Many people remain hospitalized, but the shooting is already the deadliest in U.S. history. The gunman has been identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen.

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