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Seattle vigil for Orlando: 'These beautiful boys that got killed out of blind hatred'

Ricquel Sears of Capitol Hill with her 3-month-old daughter. For Sears, the Orlando shooting hit home. Her brother is gay, and her fiance is Muslim.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery
Ricquel Sears of Capitol Hill with her 3-month-old daughter. For Sears, the Orlando shooting hit home. Her brother is gay, and her fiance is Muslim.

At a vigil Sunday night, Seattleites shared their thoughts about the Orlando shooting that occurred earlier that morning. Ricquel Sears of Capitol Hill, who was at the park with her two children, said her heart dropped:

"My brother is homosexual. It sucks that you would kill someone just because of that. Not only one or two people, but you tried to kill over 100 people.

"I don’t know how someone could have so much hate for someone. Even if you disagree with their lifestyle, you still have to look someone in the eyes and they’re still human.

"I immediately woke up my best friend, I asked her what she thought. We had a whole debate that morning about how it’s not helping the stereotype that we have in Seattle."

What stereotype?

"People are cautious, or will judge someone because they are Muslim. My fiancé is Muslim, actually, so it’s an argument I have a lot.

"When things like this happens, it doesn’t help the situation, what I’m trying to convince people of – you know, ‘Don’t judge.’ I think we just have to realize there are going to be extremists everywhere.

"It’s kind of scary. Just being here, I thought, this would be the perfect time for something like that to happen."

Does this make you want to leave the park?

"When I first got here, yeah. I mean, it’s most likely not going to happen, but that’s probably what they were thinking."

[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Voices from the vigil", "style": "wide"}]]

[asset-audio[{"description": "", "fid": "127095", "uri": "public://201606/NEWS_20160613_vigilpostcard.mp3"}]]Listen to different reactions at the Cal Anderson vigil. This audio postcard includes Mayor Ed Murray; Governor Jay Inslee; Luis Fernando Ramirez, peer educator at Entre Hermanos; Monisha Harrell, board chair of Equal Rights Washington; community organizer Sonja Basha; Seattle Men's Chorus and Seattle Women's Chorus. Audio by John O'Brien.

[asset-images[{"caption": "Bruce Parris at the vigil at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill on Sunday evening following the shootings in Orlando.", "fid": "127062", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201606/DSC_0606.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery"}]]

[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Bruce Parris, Capitol Hill", "style": "wide"}]]"It’s a tragedy, but thank God they can’t get all of us."

What do you mean?

"Coming out and the acceptance of homosexuality is inevitable at this point of history. And I don’t think that these meager attempts will accomplish anything but cause pain and anguish to people who knew the people that are lost.

"We have to stand and be seen once again."

Once again?

"For me, it started when we picketed the chief of police’s house on Sand Point Way back in the early ‘70s.

"We had to stand up to police brutality back then. It seems that those motions forward have made a difference. Unfortunately there are responses to that difference, which are not necessarily good, one of which we’re experiencing today."

[asset-images[{"caption": "Aishah Jilani, left, wrote the hashtag #notinmyname in Arabic. ", "fid": "127063", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201606/DSC_0614.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery"}]]

[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Aishah Jalani, Redmond", "style": "wide"}]]"It’s devastating, and especially for Muslims, this being the month of Ramadan. Not only are we not allowed to argue, but murder is incomprehensible.

"When I found out there was going to be a vigil and several friends got together we decided this would be the best way we should be breaking our fast at the end of the day and sharing and being in solidarity.

"As Muslim Americans, we’re attacked too. Islamophobia is real. It’s important right now, at a time when there is a lot of rhetoric that is not favorable to many communities, for us to stand up and say love overcomes hate."

[asset-images[{"caption": "Vinay Maloo stumbled on the vigil at Cal Anderson Park on Sunday evening. ", "fid": "127064", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201606/DSC_0562.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery"}]]

[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Vinay Maloo, Capitol Hill", "style": "wide"}]]"I come from a conservative family. Being gay myself, I know how difficult it is just to get to a place where you can tell your family and friends. I live here now, and things are so much better in terms of how I live my life.

"When you hear something like this, you realize that the hate is real. The fears are real.

"It takes me to a place where I remember how difficult it is to have an identity of your own.

"But when people are out there being themselves, they get hurt. So there’s no winning. You either hide who you are or if you’re out there, something bad can happen to you."

[asset-images[{"caption": "Chris Villareal, left, with Lellius Rose and Judy Liu, of Lake City.", "fid": "127067", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201606/DSC_0566.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery"}]][asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Chris Villareal, Lake City", "style": "wide"}]]"When I read the headline, I did not want it to enter my head. I pretty much waited until everyone else woke up and went upstairs and ate breakfast.

"I’ve been feeling pretty numb about it. I don’t know. I guess I’m here to snap out of it and not stay silent.

What do you mean, “not stay silent?”

"There’s plenty of time to go along with our lives, but if you care about something, now is your chance to stand up and be heard, right?"

[asset-images[{"caption": "Cris Stanton, right, and her wife Serena Laws.", "fid": "127065", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201606/DSC_0588.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery"}]]

[asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Cris Stanton, Sodo", "style": "wide"}]]"I was surprised only a little, and that’s kind of the sad part. These kind of things keep happening, and I wish there could be something done about it.

"Like trying to pass bills that would help protect people. We don’t need assault rifles. Apparently he had an AK-47. We don’t need things like that. Nobody needs things like that. We’re not at war here. We’re not a war-torn country.

"If he hadn’t had something like that, he wouldn’t have been able to mow through there. I’ve seen the pictures, all these beautiful boys that got killed out of blind hatred."

[asset-images[{"caption": "Todd Smith of Pill Hill with his dogs Hobbes, left, and Sophie, right. ", "fid": "127066", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201606/DSC_0558.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery"}]][asset-pullquotes[{"quote": "Todd Smith, Pill Hill", "style": "wide"}]]"I’m a gay man who lives in Seattle, so it impacts my community directly."

Did you feel fear after learning about Orlando?

"It’s only natural to feel fear. If it had been any mass killing or mass shooting. I think we should take that fear and put that to something constructive once we’ve worked through it." 

Correction 6/13/2016: A previous audio version incorrectly stated the name of one of the people quoted at the vigil.