Orlando shooting hits close to home for State College community

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A faith-based organization and an LGBT support group held two different vigils Tuesday evening in response to the Orlando mass shootings.

Both shared one common message: sharing love and hope during grief. 

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County and Centre LGBTQA Support Network offered opportunities for people in the State College community to stand in solidarity. 

Hundreds took part in each one, holding candlelights and grieving together.

Kevin Shock, a pastor for the St. Mark Lutheran Church in Pleasant Gap attended the vigil at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church. 

He spoke about the importance of embracing everybody. 

“There is no one who is incompatible with God’s righteousness,” Shock said. 

Other attendees, such as Phileshia Dombroski, found it refreshing to see a faith-based organization open itself to people of all walks of life. 

“I see churches, different denominations, moving forward in acceptance and it makes me happier because there’s anguish for many more people who haven’t found a safe place,” Dombroski said. 

At the Allen Street gate in downtown State College, many flocked for a vigil there. 

Organizer Vladimir Londono says he chose the location to gain attention about a cause he cares about. 

“Visibility is the best thing for Centre County and the LGBT support network and the students,” Londono said. 

As communities through the nation continue to mourn and stand in solidarity, Londono says it takes more than standing around to achieve equality. 

“We don’t necessarily have acceptance because we still see hate crimes. We need to really do something about it,” he said. 

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