Folks gather to honor fallen victims of Orlando - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Folks gather to honor fallen victims of Orlando

People of all ages gathered in support (Source: WALB) People of all ages gathered in support (Source: WALB)
Rev. Carol Hayes hugging people who came out (Source: WALB) Rev. Carol Hayes hugging people who came out (Source: WALB)
Candals were lit in honor of the 49 killed victims (Source: WALB) Candals were lit in honor of the 49 killed victims (Source: WALB)
Some say this was the first public LGBT event they can remember (Source: WALB) Some say this was the first public LGBT event they can remember (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

People of all ages gathered in the name of love, unity and peace. 

The vigil was a hate-free zone, where folks could honor the innocent lives lost in Orlando.

Organizer Rev. Carol Pyles says the attack was a hate crime.

"I blame the man who went into the building with that gun," said Pyles. "With the intention of killing people of the LGBT community for being who they are."

Pyles and Chris Kaplan were legally married last year. They're proud of how many people showed up tonight.

Kaplan used a Facebook group called Rainbow alliance Southwest Georgia to get the word out.

"After we posted the event here," said Kaplan. "We had so many people join it and say 'never in my life living in Albany was I able to come out and I don't get the support'"

Some in attendance said this is the first public LGBT gathering they remember in Albany, but Tehran Singleton acknowledged it's a bittersweet gathering.

"Unfortunately something this tragic had to happen for us and the Southwest Georgia area to come and pull together and band together," reminded Singleton.

"Albany Georgia is the Good Life City," said Pyles. "It doesn't say under that sign it's the good life city for some."

All were welcome Wednesday night. Pyles teared up multiple times when reading out the name of every victim.

She wanted everyone to remember those victims and to walk away knowing, no matter who they are or what they believe, they aren't alone.

"This is a time where we can come together as Untied States Americans and stand in solidarity. Whether you be straight or gay."

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