Two weeks ago I went to the City Hall in San Jose, California, to attend a vigil for the victims of the Orlando shootings. The vigil started at 6 p.m., but I came at around 7:30 p.m. so I missed a few speeches.
The crowd was in a very sad and somber mood. Many people were giving each other long hugs and pats on the back. In other rallies and protests, when I took people’s photos, I’d often engage in conversations with them. But in this vigil, I’d take a photo and they’d smile and thank me but not want to say much.
I asked one person if there were any Muslims in the vigil who were there for solidarity. The person said that she saw quite a few Muslims who attended and gave speeches to the crowd to show that the Muslim community was there in solidarity with the LGBT community. There was no anger towards Muslims in this group, only a sense of deep hurt and anger towards the prevalence of homophobia that still affects their lives. A few speakers talked about how they still have to be careful at work about revealing their sexual orientation.
During the vigil, I met a good friend, Mary Ann Donegan, and her sister. She’s a great photographer and the person who inspired me to take photos of vigils and political rallies. We both wandered in the crowd to take photos of people so that we could share it to the wider Facebook audience.
Here is a youtube video I made of the vigil in San Jose.