Huntsville remembers the Orlando nightclub massacre victims through a candlelight vigil

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Pulse Nightclub is more than 600 miles from the Tennessee Valley. Yet for many in our community, the pain and horror is as real as if it was next door.  “Why do we choose to hate, rather than love?” asks Alberto Ortiz.

James Robinson, CEO of Free2Be, says he understands that everyone grieves differently. “Some people’s reaction to trauma is to pull back and to not be visible for safety," he says.

For the many gathered at Pinhook Provisions Food Truck Park Sunday night, they wanted their light to shine through the darkness. “I just wanted to be out here and support everyone today. I think it’s senseless. I think they’re cowards to attack people when they’re least expecting it," says Brian Hall.

Sunday's event was supposed to celebrate the start of Pride Week.  But, it took on a new meaning after the massacre in Orlando. “Don’t think for a moment that this was just a random night club selection. We know it was not. These people were targeted because they’re gay. They were human beings that happened to have a sexual orientation that’s not what is considered the norm," says Robinson.

The organization's director says canceling was never an option.  “That’s just what the terrorist want.  Whether it’s the terrorists against the LGBT community or against the World Trade Center in New York, they want to suppress our society and they’re not going to do it in Huntsville, Alabama, I guarantee you that,” he says.

There's no way to comprehend the amount of hate it took to kill all those people.  But as we move forward, James hopes Huntsville does it united as one.  “That in Huntsville, the Star of Alabama, we can unite in Huntsville and we can show everyone in our community that we are together," says Robinson.

If you or anyone you know is having trouble coping with this shooting, James says you're welcome to call or stop by the Free2Be Center.

Free2Be Huntsville and Shoals: 256-886-1150

2004 Poole Drive, NW, Suite B

Huntsville, AL 35810

Normal Business Hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.