The day after a tragic massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., the president of the Vancouver Pride Society sought to allay the concerns of those who might be afraid to attend next month’s popular pride parade in Vancouver.
Alan Jernigan said Monday the society will work closely with police authorities to conduct proper risk assessments before the event, which historically draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands.
Jernigan said he understands there is considerable fear following the shooting rampage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning, which left at least 50 dead and an equal number injured.
But he stressed that such an event, which is being reported as the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, cannot be allowed to silence the voices of the LGBTQ2+ community.
“Every year, we work really closely with Vancouver police and with private security and we are continuing to do that his year,” Jernigan said. “I understand that there is fear out there … it was a terrible, tragic event. And you know, I think we can’t let hatred and terror silence our voices. We need to respond to this by being seen and heard.”
Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old, a New York-born private security guard with alleged sympathies to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was killed at around 5 a.m. Sunday in a shootout with police following a tense, hours-long standoff.
Earlier that morning, he had walked into the Pulse nightclub and, armed with an assault rifle and handgun, opened fire on a packed house enjoying Latin-themed night.