^ Governor Baker at yesterday’s #Vigil on Boston’s City Hall plaza spoke of solidarity with the LGBT community and the people of Orlando

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Thousands of us, we of Boston, gathered quietly at City Hall Plaza last night in #vigil for the 49 young LGBT people gunned down in Orlando, Florida. To the gunman’s act of hate we responded in an act of together love.

I was there; how could I not be ? But who am I but one heart of thousands of hearts, two arms to hug everyone near to me hugging me also and likewise.

Being there calmed my soul; I think it salved the souls of all of us. Our wounds may not be of the flesh or mortal, but they are hurts very deep nonetheless. It was good to express all of this in solemn communion.

Our leaders — Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh — spoke simply the phrases that needed saying, sentences of communion. As Baker spoke it and then tweeted it: “:Solidarity in the face of hate & terror. We stand as one w/ the LGBT community & the ppl of Orlando.” His tweet was RT’d 206 times and “liked” 356. The reactions continue.

Mayor Walsh spoke it too : “Tonight we saw the very best of Boston, standing together in solidarity w/ broken hearts & open arms for #Orlando.” 345 people so far have RT’d the Mayor’s tweet; 632 have “liked” it.

We of Boston have been here before. After the Marathon Bombing three years ago — an attack praised by the Orlando killer — we gathered in huge numbers proclaiming ourselves “Boston strong.” But then, our “strong” was laced with physical anger, some of it frighteningly brutal, even barbaric (protesting the funeral home doing one of the attackers’ burial, a replay of Euripides’s 2500 year old play Antigone !). This time there has been none of that. It wasn’t our city this time, and the dead, being LGBT (and mostly Hispanic), are controversial to some, unlike the three innocents nail-bombed dead at the Marathon.

Thus the viscerally angry, who all but savaged our grief three years ago, were not present at City hall and, so far, have not been heard from except, tangentially, in the venom of Trump. And so the #vigil at City hall was as close to pure as any crowd event I have seen, pure in the sense of united in love grieving without the box cutters of hate. No one swore vengeance. No one called out an enemy, pointed a scapegoat. No one spoke of getting a gun. Hate may kill, but it cannot kill us all and it will not deter us from living our lives in the fullness of respect.

And to those who hate did kill, and to their grieving families and friends, we dedicated our bodies present and accounted for in solemn solidarity. Like a tree that stands by the waters, we shall not be moved.

—- Mike Freedberg /  Here and Sphere



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