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Emotional Memorial Held for Victims of Orlando Shooting

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About 100 members of the Cal State Fullerton campus community gathered Monday afternoon to honor the victims of the June 12 Orlando, Fla., shooting that left 49 dead and 53 people injured. It appears that the attack — the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11 — was directed against those in the LGBT community. 

The Chicana and Chicano Resource Center was filled with people, including members of the University Police Department, counselors, administrators, students, staff and faculty sharing their thoughts about the shooting, as well as experiences as members and supporters of the LGBT community. 

During the hourlong event, students talked about the frustration of living in a world that often seems filled with hate and intolerance, while others shared emotional personal stories about their lives and the challenges that still exist for the LGBT community. 

Some wrote on the steps outside the reource center, leaving messages of tolerance, love and remembrance.

“We are all human beings. Respect each other and the world we share,” one person wrote.

And another summed up many of the feelings being expressed:  “Seek understanding. Stop the violence. Spread love. We are all Orlando.”

President Mildred García wrote an email Monday inviting the campus community to the memorial and expressed her sadness, as well as her resolve to ensure the University is a safe haven for all.

“All the facts are still being gathered, but it does seem clear that this attack was meant, in particular, as a strike against the LGBT community,” García said. “As an inclusive, embracing campus that celebrates and advances our diversity, the sting of this reality is even greater.” 

Vincent Vigil, director of student engagement, along with other members of the Division of Student Affairs, helped organize and facilitate the event. He spoke of his life as an openly gay man and reminded those present that more needed to be done to eradicate hate.

“We wanted to give the campus community an opportunity to express their feelings and share their thoughts,” Vigil said. “Today we are gathered here because we care about all of you. Thank you to the students that shared who you are. It’s important to talk and we hope this is a step toward healing and making the world better.”

Nathan Olmeda, coordinator of clubs, organizations and club sports, told the gathering that he had been giving out lots of hugs since Sunday. He also sent text messages and emails to students and friends, leaving a simple message: “Please know that I love you.”