Thousands of people gathered for a vigil and rally in front of New York City’s iconic Stonewall Inn on Monday, showing support for the victims of the terrorist attack that took place at an LGBTQ club in Orlando Sunday night.
The rally was attended by multiple New York City and state politicians, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Both de Blasio and Cuomo addressed the crowd, expressing solidarity with the victims in Orlando and their families, as well as the broader LGBTQ community.
De Blasio called upon all Americans to travel to New York City on June 26 for the city’s Gay Pride Parade to ensure that it would be the biggest in the country’s history.
“It will be safe, and we will protect each other,” said de Blasio. “And we will send a message to this nation and this world, of what our society should look like.”
Governor Cuomo praised those who attended the rally and issued a call for unity.
“This is a beautiful sight. This is New York at its best, coming together to speak with one voice,” said Cuomo.
The governor also took time in his speech to the crowd to voice his continued support for “sensible gun control” legislation.
“The frustration at a society that would allow a madman to buy an assault weapon has gone on for too long,” he said. “We went through it at Sandy Hook. How many people have to die before this federal government comes to its senses?”
Among the other officials to address the rally were Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and New York City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.
Representatives of LGBTQ activist groups were also present at the event, including Shelby Chestnut, the co-director of community organizing and public advocacy for The Anti-Violence Project, and Leah Gunn Barrett, executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. A short speech was also delivered by pop star Nick Jonas.
The rally concluded with a reading from the podium of the name of every victim of the Orlando massacre.
The Stonewall Inn—located in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village—has been an iconic LGBTQ landmark since June 1969, when it was the site of equal-rights riots between LGBTQ protesters and New York City police. President Obama has since proposed that the venue be the first U.S. monument devoted to LGBTQ history.
The massacre that prompted the gathering took place on Sunday at the Pulse nightclub in downtown Orlando. The gunman in the attack killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. Two of the deceased—Enrique Ross, 25, and Shane Tomlinson, 33—were native New Yorkers.