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Barrie candlelight vigil for Orlando victims

Pride flag to fly this week in memory of those killed in mass shooting
pride 2 closer
The Barrie Pride flag was supposed to come down this week but the Mayor has asked it stay up in memory of the Orlando victims. Sue Sgambati/BarrieToday

Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman says the Pride flag will continue to fly at City Hall this week in memory of those who lost their lives in Orlando.

"It's horrific," said Lehman. "Especially coming at the end of Pride Week which is a week of celebration and expression of tolerance. To have an act this horrible and hateful happen just is awful."

The week-long Pride celebrations in Barrie wrapped up on the weekend and the flag would normally have been taken down. 

Barrie Pride is planning a candlelight vigil at City Hall for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

Pride Week in Barrie had record numbers of about four-thousand people at the parade and festival on Saturday. 

Just one day after that celebration, 49 people were gunned down at a nightclub in Orlando by a man who pledged allegiance to ISIS.

"We are horrified by the shootings in Orlando," said Barrie Pride Chair David Bradbury. "We come together to share our grief and to unite in solidarity with the victims of anti-LGBT hate everywhere it exists."

Mayor Lehman and MPP Ann Hoggarth will be among the speakers at the vigil.

Representatives from Barrie Pride, Simcoe Pride, Georgian Pride, the Gilbert Centre and the Barrie Police Service will also be on hand to say a few words.

People are asked to gather at 7:30 p.m. and the vigil will get underway at 8 p.m.

"We want it to be as big as possible just to give the LGBT community, especially in Barrie that sense that we all have their backs,"

said Diane Briggs, Volunteer Co-ordinator with Barrie Pride. 

"We're definitely taking this seriously. All of our hearts are shattered."

Mayor Lehman says he believes Barrie is a very safe city but he cautions there is still hate and homophobia in Canada.

The importance of having Barrie's successful Pride celebrations is underscored by the mass shooting, according to Lehman. 

"These kinds of events hopefully only strengthen everyone's resolve to demonstrate that tolerance as a broader society."

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Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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