Sunday evening, residents of Idaho Falls gathered for a candlelight vigil in memory of the lives of those who were killed that morning in the Orlando massacre.
Lyn Stangland Cameron, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Idaho Falls, led the service held at the memorial.
Cameron said her favorite part of the vigil was the number of people in attendance, many of whom she had not seen before.
“It was very heartening,” Cameron said.
JD Wells, a member of the LGBT community and current resident of Idaho Falls, said he wanted to attend the vigil to pay his respects to members of the LGBT community and those who lost their lives Sunday morning.
”It’s emotional just thinking about it, you know, that people of the LGBT community are scared for their lives, and they have to go about their day not being who they are and, you know, some people are afraid to express themselves just because stuff like this happens,” he said.
He said he feels that although gay marriage is legal in the United States, that does not mean everything is OK now for the LGBT community.
“There’s so much more that we need to do,” he said. “We need to just be supportive of one another, and maybe one day we’ll get there — and I’m hoping I’m alive to see that day.”
Danielle Lundgren, a member of the LGBT community, said she came to the vigil to show support for those whose lives have been impacted by the shooting.
“For me, it’s about standing up and saying that we’re not going to be silenced by hate,” Lundgren said. “There’s been so much hate lately, and people seem like they just want us to go away, they want us to hide, they don’t want us to exist.”
Lundgren said the ultimate solution to this controversey is education because people fear what they do not understand.
“And if people would just take a minute and put their differences aside and — you may not like me, you may not approve of me and my lifestyles, but I’m a human, and just like every other human out there, we all deserve respect,” Lundgren said.
Madison Burke, a resident of Lewisville, Idaho, said she has personally witnessed hatred toward the LGBT community as she watched the way her parents, who were lesbian, were treated.
“(Now my parents) have to worry about if they’re going to get shot,” she said. “I mean, they already had to worry.”
Burke said she feels like the vigil helped in healing the pain so many people are feeling in the LGBT community.
“I think it helped people just to know that they’re not alone,” she said. “It’s hard to find people who are like-minded and who respect you for who you truly are (. . .) and so being around people who you can openly express your views and just hug is amazing.”
The vigil lasted between 20 and 30 minutes and had 50-70 people in attendance.
The service consisted of a candlelighting, a sermon, a song and testimonies of those who desired to share a message with the group.