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New York Mayor, Governor Join Vigil For Orlando Victims At Stonewall Inn

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

As the investigation continues into the Orlando shooter, people around the country are also gathering to mourn the victims and support the LGBT community. Many have been meeting at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village in New York. Stonewall's considered the birthplace of the gay rights movement. It was the scene of riots in the late '60s and remains an important gathering place for members of the community. New York City's mayor and the state's governor spoke there this evening.

Jessica Gould of member station WNYC is there now. Thanks for being with us.

JESSICA GOULD, BYLINE: Thank you.

MCEVERS: So tell us a little bit about Stonewall and its place in New York. I mean, it's kind of become a gathering place in the best of times and the worst of times for the LGBT community, right?

GOULD: Absolutely. I was here just a year ago when there was a spontaneous gathering of people to celebrate the Supreme Court's decision legalizing marriage. There were flowers and rainbow flags. And people were here, both gay and straight, with their children to celebrate and be a community together. And of course (unintelligible) in community together again today.

MCEVERS: So that was a time where people were coming out and celebrating, wearing rainbow flags. And now...

GOULD: Yeah. And the symbols today are very similar - rainbow flags, flowers. There's a makeshift memorial that's been growing for the past two days. And people are inscribing the names of victims in chalk outside. Of course there's a much more somber spirit. People are crying as they (inaudible) each other. And there's a fighting spirit. There are chants of, we're here; we're queer; get used to it and a sense that things have to get better. So last year it was celebration. This year, it's, the struggle continues.

MCEVERS: And as we said, elected officials spoke there tonight. But what is it really that people want from officials? I mean, what can they give them now?

GOULD: (Inaudible) Officials articulate that this was more than just a terrorist attack, that it was a hate crime. And we hear them talk about gun control, which the officials are. And they want to hear that they're in solidarity.

MCEVERS: Yeah. And the attack in Orlando is still really recent. I mean, are people you talk to there - do they seem like they're afraid to go out into public gatherings like this and to be together in places like this?

GOULD: Some people have told me that they are afraid. They've told me that they were reluctant to go to big gatherings. On the other hand, some people say they've been afraid, that they've been a victim of hate violence before. But at the same time, they say that the way they feel safest is being together, which is what they're doing here.

MCEVERS: Is there any talk of more security at events like this when so many people are gathered together in one place?

GOULD: Yes. I mean, there's a lot of security here, dozens of police officers. (Inaudible) And the mayor have both increased security in New York State and in New York City at major transit hubs and at nightlife hotspots and LGBT landmarks.

MCEVERS: That's Jessica Gould with member station WNYC in New York. She is at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. Thank you very much.

GOULD: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.