Vigil lets victims know Cairns stands with Orlando
The Cairns community came out in force to a candelight vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub.
It is a simple, powerful local message shared with communities around the world: we stand with Orlando.
Local leaders of the Cairns LGBTQI community joined an estimated 200 local residents for a solemn showing of solidarity at a vigil at the popular Paradiso Cafe at the CoCA building on Abbott St last night.
Cafe owner and publisher-editor of FNQ Magazine Jay Horne hosted the event in honour of the victims of America's worst hate crime.
At least 50 people were killed and dozens more seriously injured when gunman Omar Mateen stormed into the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida at about 2am and opened fire. Information released since the massacre indicated Mateen was reportedly motivated by intense homophobia and hatred of the LGBTQI community.
Mr Horne said donations received at the Cairns vigil would be sent to a United States charity working to support victims and their families.
"We at FNQ Magazine have been really shocked by this event," he said.
"We took FNQ Magazine to Orlando and greater Florida last year and were received by the LGBTQI community with open arms. We have friends who live in Florida and who were part of the pride events. Fortunately they weren’t at Pulse when this tragedy occured.
"As a community the Cairns LGBTQI population needs to stand together in solidarity against the worst hate crime in US history.
"We have to show the world at large, and especially the young generation, that it's OK to be gay.
"The loss of so many of our brothers and sisters hurts - even though they are on the other side of the world. For all the gains our community has reached, our community still face attacks in places we go.
"We are not deterred and will honour the memory of those lost or injured their families and the community at large. We will show Orlando that Cairns Stands With Orlando."
Cairns residents are urged to share messages of love and support on social media with the hashtag #CairnsStandsWithOrlando.
The Cairns Stands With Orlando vigil will be held at 6pm tonight at the Paradiso Cafe at the CoCA building at 96 Abbott St.
Some candles will be made available, but people are urged to bring their own. Paradise Cafe will supply complimentary tea and coffee.
For more information about tonight's event, check out the Facebook page here.