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June 17, 2016 : Students Attend Vigil to Mourn Orlando Shooting Victims
by Zach Crawford

A candlelight vigil was held in Downtown Lancaster at the Fountain Square. About 75 people attended the candlelight vigil to mourn the loss of 49 people who were killed and 53 injured at a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.


Among the attendees at the candlelight vigil were members of Gender Equality Solidarity Society (G.E.S.S.), a student organization at Ohio University Lancaster.


Pam Kaylor, G.E.S.S. faculty advisor said, “The Gender Equality Solidarity Society is horrified by the senseless killings and continued hateful rhetoric against the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersexual, Asexual) community. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families of this most heinous crime. GESS is committed to promoting gender equality and awareness, acceptance, and respect for all people. This could have happened anywhere, at any event.  The hateful political rhetoric and ignorance shown toward the LGBTQIA community produces a climate of unfounded fear and anger in our culture.  The way we socialize boys, the lack of commonsense gun restrictions, the promotion of ‘nonissues’ for political gain, the perpetuation of negative stereotypes, an unrealistic fear of the gay community, and some truly evil people all contribute to these acts of violence.  We will continue to strive for equality for all people, to silence the rhetoric of hate, and to stand together against acts of violence.”


The LGBTQIA community will continue to feel the tragedy throughout the month of June and beyond. June is considered Pride Month for the LGBTQIA community. This month is held sacred due to the Stonewall riot that took place on June 28, 1969, the early beginnings of the gay liberation movement of the 70s.


A Pride festival is taking place in Columbus from June 17th to June 19th will also pay tribute to the forty-nine lives lost in the early hours of June 12, 2016. Pride Month will continue in spite of this tragic event, it will serve as a time of remembrance for the senseless killing.


The purpose of student organization G.E.S.S. is to promote an awareness of gender equality to university students and the community at large. In addition, the Gender Equality Solidarity Society provides an opportunity for students, faculty, alumni, and staff to coordinate and participate in gender related activities, conferences, resource services and a generally gender equal environment for the benefit of students and the community. It is open to any and all members of Ohio University Lancaster's student body, faculty, staff, or alumni, and will not discriminate based on age, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, creed or disability.