Penn Staters come together to 'Stand in Solidarity with Orlando'

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Members of the Penn State and local community came together Monday evening (June 13) for a vigil on the steps of Old Main to honor the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida. 

"Stand in Solidarity with Orlando" included remarks from administrators, students, religious leaders, members of the LGBTQ community and Muslim Student Association on the steps of Old Main as community members held candles and joined together. The vigil included a moment of silence, prayer and the reading of the names of everyone whose life was lost in the attack that took place early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub.

Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost, said that by coming together the University community was standing "in solidarity with those who lost loved ones."

"We stand in solidarity with the emergency responders, who acted quickly and bravely in an effort to save innocent lives. We stand in solidarity with everyone across our nation and the world who steadfastly objects to the hatred that fueled such a heinous, criminal act," Jones said.

"By standing together, we are saying that we abhor this and other acts of terrorism, which affects members of our community — including the LGBTQ community — in various ways. We are saying that at Penn State campuses across the Commonwealth, we have strong communities of inclusion and support – robust, diverse communities that celebrate and respect our differences."

The Penn State LGBTQA Student Resource Center coordinated the event with the Commission on LGBTQ Equity, Counseling and Psychological Services, Muslim Student Association, Office of the President, Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, Paul Robeson Cultural Center, the Social Justice Coalition and Student Affairs, and the Centre LGBTQA Support Network. Other groups, including the Forum on Black Affairs, also turned out to show support and bring the community together. 

"The way that we can build a better and stronger institution is by supporting each other and coming together in true unity to ensure that each of us creates a better space here at Penn State," said Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for Educational Equity.

Allison Subasic, director of the LGBTQA Student Resource Center, said it was a day to come together as a Penn State community.

“This vigil is the day we choose to heal, love one another and comfort those we love,” Subasic said. “Tomorrow is never guaranteed, and we are stronger than all the hate in the world. So, ask for support if you need it, give support if you can give it and love one another until love is all that is left.”

Last Updated April 19, 2017