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Orlando – A Year On

A man looks over an impromptu candle-lit memorial set up in Sydney, Monday, June 13, 2016, following the Florida mass shooting at the Pulse Orlando nightclub where police say a gunman wielding an assault-type rifle opened fire, killing at least 50 people and wounding dozens. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that the Orlando mass shooting was "an attack on all of us — on all our freedoms, the freedom to gather together, to celebrate, to share time with friends." (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

One year ago, on June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed and over 50 were wounded in a terrorist attack in Orlando. The attack took place in an LGBT+ nightclub, named Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, United States. On the night of the attack, the club was hosting a “Latin Night” and consequently, most of the victims were Latinos. It was recorded as the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest act of violence against LGBT+ people in United States history.

A year later and it is still vitally important to remember and honour those who were a victim of the massacre. Although the world was full of shock and was grieving for those lost, we saw action happen incredibly quickly afterwards.

Within the first nine hours following the attack, Equality Florida – which is Florida’s largest LGBT+ rights group – started a fundraising page to aid the victims and their families. In nine hours $767,000 were raised. As of September 2016, they have raised over $7.85 million online which is a record for GoFundMe.

The evening of the attacks, the annual Tony Awards took place. Many people were still in total shock of what had happened that morning. This led to many dedicating their awards to the victims and the whole event being dedicated to them. The Tony Awards Twitter tweeted:

Many artists came together after the tragedy to collaborate on a song named ‘Hands’. You can read more about that here.

Across the world, people mourned those lost and sent hope to all those involved and injured. Many vigils were held and landmarks lit up in the memory of those affected.

In New York, the lights of the Empire State Building were turned off as thousands attended a memorial event for the victims. A vigil was also held in the Soho district in London where 49 balloons were released for every life lost.

Australia’s Sydney Harbour Bridge was lit in the colours of the gay pride flag as hundreds gathered to pay tribute; the Eiffel Tower was lit up in rainbow colours; and in Berlin over 100 people gathered to light candles, wave rainbow flags, and lay flowers.

It was proven that the majority of the world chose love over fear. Many hashtags were set up on Twitter showing the love and support for the LGBT+ community. Recently, at Boston Pride, there was a float where victims of the attacks stood strongly together. 29 of the survivors danced along on the float for the 2.27 miles parade, draped in rainbow flags.

The bravery is shown amongst individuals after the event was, and still is, incredible. One year on we still remember those who lost their lives, the other victims, and the family and friends who suffered.

We will continue to remember them.

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