Members of East Hawaii’s LGBT community and allies gathered in downtown Hilo tonight for a candlelight vigil at Mo’oheau Bandstand & Park 6pm to honor the victims of Orlando’s shooting at Pulse gay bar. 50 people were killed and 53 wounded in the attack. Though the motives for the attack are unknown, violence against LGBT people is not a rare occurrence.
Travis Rogers, the organizer of the Hilo vigil, said he “heard the news and just had to do something”. Travis shared a personal story of homophobic violence so others may feel safe to do the same. Though Hawaii’s LGBT residents come from diverse backgrounds and experiences, most have these kind of stories.
Above all, Travis shared his hope for people standing up against hatred and making communities safe for all. “I feel for those who’ve lost their lives” Travis said. “This homophobic violence must end”
Individuals or organizations who want to help make Big Island a safe and friendly place for LGBT residents can support Hawaii Island Pride. The annual Pride parade is being planned for July 9th from 12-4 in downtown Hilo and volunteers are needed to join planning meetings every Tuesday at 6pm at the Church of the Holy Apostles at 1407 Kapiolani St.