Cities Light Up In Rainbow Colors Across North America, Candlelight Vigils Held

Major cities and monuments across North America are illuminated in rainbow colors tonight. In wake of the Orlando mass nightclub shootings, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday, June 12, that all flags will be flown at half-staff and that City Hall will be lit up in rainbow colors at sunset.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, shooter Omar Mateen killed 50 people and injured 53 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, before he was later shot and killed by police. It's been called the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and the worst terror attack since 9/11.In addition, the Golden Valley in the state of Minnesota will hold a vigil to honor the victims of the shooting. The city just celebrated its first Pride Festival on Sunday, which included food trucks, floats, community booths, and concerts. The vigil for the victims of the nightclub shooting was held at Loring Park in Minneapolis, according to ABC Eyewitness News.

Rainbow colors will also light up the Lowry Avenue bridge and the Interstate 35W bridge through Thursday, June 16, to honor the victims of the tragic shooting. Gov. Mark Dayton, who requested the bridge to be lit on Sunday, issued the following statement in response to the mass shooting.

"The horrific act of hatred and terror in Orlando was an unfathomable attack upon all of humanity. Our hearts go out to the innocent victims of that heinous assault."
The city of Toronto even issued a statement on Sunday afternoon, saying that they are "saddened over the horrific events that took place" at the Orlando nightclub. The Canadian city has hired more security in light of recent events and to ensure that events during Pride Month are safe for their community."As a community we will together stand united through this painful and difficult time," the statement read.

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil is reported to be held at Barbara Hall Park in Toronto on Sunday night, according to CTV-News Toronto. They encourage people to "bring a candle" or "say a prayer, seek or give comfort" to the victims of the shooting.

Toronto Mayor John Tory took to Twitter to announce that the Toronto sign in front of city hall "will be lit in colors of the rainbow today" in honor of the victims.

Back home stateside in Kansas, Mayor Sly James says he wants to turn Kansas City into "Rainbow City" on Monday, and he wants others to join him by wearing rainbow colors. Kansas City already held its Pride Month festival on the first weekend of the month.

The Bond Bridge will also stay lit in rainbow colors to show support for the victims, James tweeted on Sunday afternoon. James' appreciation for the LGBTQ community has received great appreciation across social media.The White House is reportedly not lit tonight. The last time it lit up in rainbow colors was last year when the U.S. Supreme Court announced that same-sex marriage would be legal in all 50 states. Just a few days ago, President Barack Obama reflected back on that historic day on his final day at the LGBT Pride Reception of his presidency on Thursday, June 9.
"One of the most special moments of my presidency was that warm summer night last June when we lit up the White House out there. It was a powerful symbol here at home, where more Americans finally felt accepted and whole, and that their country recognized the love that they felt. It was a beacon for people around the world who are still fighting for those rights."
During his speech, Obama reflected on how the ruling made progress on the federal hate crime law and put a stop to the ban of lesbians and gays in the military. But of course, there's still more work that needs to be done. The tragedy in Orlando will also open up a discussion about the much-heated gun debate in this country.
"We've got work to do when LGBT people around the world still face incredible isolation and poverty and persecution and violence, and even death. We have work to make sure that every single child, no matter who they are or where they come from or what they look like or how they live, feels welcomed and valued and loved."
Boston Pride also held a vigil for the victims during its Pride weekend and will hold another vigil on Monday, reports WHDH-TV.June is known as Pride Month for the LGBTQ community, at a time when parades, festivals, and celebrations take place all over the country. On Sunday, many watched the speeches that took place at the Capital Pride Festival in Washington. Now the LGBTQ community is on high alert more than usual since this recent shooting was clearly hate driven.

[Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]