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New York City's Iconic Bar, the Stonewall Inn, is Site of Vigil for Orlando Victims

For decades, the bar has been a place where the community and world celebrates or mourns historic events.

By Salma Abdelnour

As the nation and the world reels from the devastating events of the weekend, when an unprecedented mass shooting early Sunday morning took the lives of 49 people and injured more than 50 others at Orlando's gay nightclub Pulse, hundreds of mourners gathered at New York City's iconic Stonewall Inn bar for a vigil Sunday night and early Monday.

“We come today because we are a community that will never be silenced again,” Kenn Kidd, a 58-year-old Queer Nation organizer, announced to the crowd gathered outside the bar, according to the New York Times

Stonewall Inn is the bar where a protest on June 29, 1969, against ongoing police harrassment of the gay community is credited as the historic beginning of the gay rights movement. In the decades since the protest, the bar has also been a place where the LGBT community, both New Yorkers and visitors from around the world, have gathered to celebrate legalization of same-sex marriage and other landmark events, and to mourn tragedies such as the homophobic hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard.

Those who gathered at Stonewall Inn over the weekend to mourn the Orlando shooting left flowers and cards commmemorating the victims. The gathering led to a march on Union Square.

In New York City, other commemorative events took place in addition to the Stonewall Inn vigil, including one in Jackson Heights, Queens, a diverse neighborhood known for its vibrant restaurant and bar scene; the area is home to sizable LGBT as well as Muslim-American communities. Members of both groups came together in Jackson Heights to mourn the Orlando events, as the New York Times reported.

The many other vigils across the U.S. included one in Indianapolis—which had celebrated Indy Pride on Saturday as part of the nation's LGBT Pride Month in June—as well as others from Chicago, San Francisco and Houston to Newtown, Connecticut and beyondCities around the world from Toronto to Paris and Sydney also held vigils at LGBT bars, hangouts and public spaces on Sunday and into Monday morning.

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