Vigils held across Mid-Michigan to remember Orlando victims - WNEM TV 5

Vigils held across Mid-Michigan to remember Orlando victims

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BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

In the midst of tragedy, one community is showing there's strength in numbers.

"We're here to celebrate the life of everyone," said Rev. Dr. Todd Farley, with the First Congregational Church.

Religious leaders led an interfaith prayer vigil for Orlando at the First Congregational Church in Saginaw. Christians, Hindus and Muslims came together to show solidarity and their disapproval of the terror that killed 49 people at the Orlando nightclub.

"People say that Muslims don't come out and speak enough about violence, against terrorism, against these senseless killings and we feel very strongly we do speak, we do go on record," said Waheed Akbar, with the Islamic Center of Saginaw.

Saleem Mannan, assistant Iman with the Saginaw Islamic Community, said they are obligated to show they are unified in terms of reducing crime.

That same unity was evident in Bay City.

"The first instinct is to run and hide, but I'd rather stand up and fight for what's right," said Kris Pride-Helm, attendee at the Bay City vigil.

More than 100 people showed up at the Fountain Park in Bay City to reflect.

"This is so important we have the community here to show their support, not only for the survivors, but for the entire LGBTQ community," Pride-Helm said.

Greg Gwaltney is the treasurer of Perceptions, a non-profit that works to give a positive image of the LGBT community.

He said everyone coming together is therapy that's sorely needed.

"Five days later and now we're talking about how to reflect and how to recover, how to find the hope we need and how to move proudly forward together," Gwaltney said.

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