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Reading LGBTQ community remembers victims of Orlando shooting

Reading LGBTQ community remembers...

READING, Pa. - Forty-nine butterflies took flight in Reading's Centre Park, each one symbolizing a person killed one year ago at a nightclub in Orlando.

"This affected our community pretty hard a year ago today," said Ben Renkus.

On June 12, 2016, a terrorist opened fire inside the Pulse nightclub, killing 49 people. It remains the deadliest attack on American soil since September 11, 2001.

To remember those lost on that day, leaders of the Reading LGBTQ community and their allies came together in solidarity. Along with each butterfly, a picture of each victim graced the center of the park.

"Violence is not new to our community," said Renkus, who serves as the vice president of the Greater Reading LGBT Center.

"Shootings occur, but to have it occur to our community and a nightclub that time of night, it was kind of like, it was unbelievable," said Jocelyn Young, the center's president.

June is designated as LGBTQ pride month, but people said after last year's shooting, pride briefly turned into fear.

"For me, you can't help but take it personally," said Young. "We are no different than anyone else. We want to be loved. We want to be accepted. We want to work."

They said acceptance is key. Though Reading and Orlando are 1,000 miles apart, their hearts were one at the gathering.

"We can never let this go," said Young.


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