New Yorkers rallied Monday night to support the LGBT community during a vigil at the historic Stonewall Inn after Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Hundreds of supporters stood in front of the landmark — the site of the 1969 police raid widely credited as the beginning of large-scale gay rights activism — while various speakers led the crowd. Among those to take the podium were performers Nick Jonas and Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).
“I have to tell you, being here and seeing all of your faces has comforted me in a way that I did not expect coming down here,” said Burgess to the crowd. “I am indeed Orlando, and in times like this, I find myself at a loss for what to do.” Acknowledging the heartache and trauma that the community was feeling, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor decided to give a gift. Singing “Somewhere” from West Side Story, Burgess gave a feeling of unity back to the collective. “I love you guys,” he said as he left the stage.
Not long after, Nick Jonas expressed his feelings on the Orlando massacre, in which a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 more. “More than anything, I just want to speak from the heart and say I woke up yesterday to the news, like all of you, and my heart broke,” said Jonas.
“I grew up here in New York City and New Jersey, performing on Broadway shows, surrounded by some of my closest friends from the LGBT community,” Jonas continued. “My father, a minister from New Jersey, shaped my view that love is love, that we are all equal. That no matter who you are, or where you’re from, or where you’re going in life, you have the right to love and be loved. So yesterday, thinking about the families of the victims and the lives lost, I just thought that could be my friend. That could be my people.”
Attendees also took to social media to share their experiences and connect with those who were unable to attend. Bravo personality Andy Cohen took to Instagram to share a photo in solidarity with “thousands of my LGBT brothers, sisters and allies.”
Other Twitter users described the rally as healing and empowering. Bradley Bredeweg, co-creator and executive producer of The Fosters, shared the list of victims.
Broadway performer and dancer Ryan Steele shared two photos from the event, including one that showed a “Love is love is love is love is love” sign made by a vigil supporter.
More attendees shared their photos, below: