Joining thousands gathered outside Los Angeles’ City Hall on Monday evening, Lady Gaga stood in solidarity alongside the grieving LGBT community she has long supported, delivering a tearful speech in dedication to the 49 victims killed Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“We mourn the tragic loss of these innocent, beautiful people. Let’s all today pledge an allegiance of love to them and to their families who are suffering so deeply. They are sons and daughters. They were fathers and mothers. They are all our brothers and our sisters,” the 30-year old said. “But, tonight I will not allow my anger and outrage over this attack to overshadow our need to honor those who are grieving truly for their lost ones; lost members of the LGBT community.”
She fought back tears as she continued: “I hope you know that myself and so many are your allies. Not only me, but everyone here. We represent the compassion and the loyalty of millions of people around the world that believe in you. You are not alone, you are not alone.”
The pop star stood in front of several people raising signs that spelled out “Orlando” in black and white, contrasting the rainbow flags some members of the audience held high as she spoke. “Tomorrow I hope that we all race thoughtfully and loudly towards solutions. But tonight, and right now, Orlando, we are united with you. And we are here to remember,” she concluded.
Gaga then read aloud the names of each victim of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, which claimed 49 lives in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, when a gunman entered Pulse, a gay nightclub in downtown Orlando, and opened fire on the crowd. The perpetrator reportedly took several hostages before police shot and killed him.
The singer previously paid tribute to the victims on social media. “I pray for all the victims families during this shooting epidemic. That their pain be met with compassion and support from the world,” she wrote. “It’s a traumatizing & emotional time for many people. I dream of the world reflecting on what we can do to change this violence.”
With her 2011 LGBT empowerment anthem “Born This Way,” Gaga became the first artist to notch a single that contained the word “transgendered” at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. She also spoke out against anti-LGBT practices at a 2010 rally in Maine, giving a heartfelt speech titled “The Prime Rib of America,” in which she criticized the army’s longstanding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, which barred out members of the LGBT community from serving in the military. She also spoke at the 2009 National Equality March in Washington, D.C., calling for equal rights for LGBT people and championing gay marriage.
Watch Gaga’s full speech from the Los Angeles vigil in the video above.