“Love is Stronger Than Hate” – Human Chain Protects Orlando From Westboro Baptist Church
As the world grieves for the victims of the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, a spontaneous gesture of courage and compassion offers a little faith in humanity.
Funerals and memorial services have begun for the 49 people, largely LGBT and people of color, who lost their lives last weekend — and as usual, the bigoted Westboro Baptist Church jumped at the opportunity to picket the events with hateful signs.
But the moment word got around on Facebook, the local LGBT community and their supporters were ready.
About 200 people blocked the main street in downtown Orlando to form a human chain to counteract the demonstrators from Westboro Baptist Church. … The amalgam of humanity who came out against Westboro included bikers, priests, young people, members of the LGBT community and locals carrying signs saying “God is love” and the motto the City Beautiful adopted in response to the massacre, “Orlando strong.”
Angel Gabriel Vasquez and his husband, Adam Vasquez, came to the counter-protest in downtown Orlando wearing a rainbow-colored Puerto Rican flag draped around their necks like a cape.
They live in Pennsylvania but flew into Orlando, their former home, Saturday night after watching the news coverage of the shooting massacre.
“This is where we grew up. This is where we matured as young gay men. And to be Puerto Rican, Latin night was one of our favorite nights,” Angel Vasquez said. “This is where our hearts is.”
Also among the counter-protesters were a group of actors from the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, in partnership with the Angel Action Wings Project, clothed in large white linen wings that blocked the Westboro Baptist signs from view of grieving loved ones, while hundreds of people sang “Amazing Grace” to drown out hate speech.