As a clergywoman, I was honored to help with the Vigil for Orlando victims organized by Creede Rep which finished out Creede's Gay Pride Day (although word on the street is that they're at Tommyknocker's now finishing the evening). My brief words were accompanied a testimony by Chris (an Orlando native), a poem read by Mehry Eslaminia, songs by Ryan Prince, and impromptu words by others in attendance.
After much celebration (and inevitable libations), we gather as a community to honor the victims of Orlando’s hate crime two weeks ago, and also to celebrate those 49 lives.
As we begin the vigil, here is a poem that appeared in my inbox today titled "For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid" by William Stafford.
There is a country to cross you will
find in the corner of your eye, in
the quick slip of your foot—air far
down, a snap that might have caught.
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing
voice that finds its way by being
afraid. That country is there, for us,
carried as it is crossed. What you fear
will not go away: it will take you into
yourself and bless you and keep you.
That’s the world, and we all live there.
Please pray with me.
God, it’s a really scary world out there. I would like to use a lot of words to describe how I feel about the exclusivity and bigotry that seems to infiltrate every dark corner in America right now. But those words will have to be set aside, scribbled only in my journal, or cried only to my husband before brushing my teeth or while I’m slicing tomato. Those words are not for public consumption. But neither is the hatred that permeates our culture. And so tonight God, we gather in love. We gather in peace. We gather in hope. Tonight come to honor the souls who danced until their last moment. We gaze at the stars - at the great cloud of witnesses above us, and we call out the names of those who have gone before us. And we say thanks be to God.
Stanley Almodovar III 23 years old
Amanda Alvear 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde 39 years old
James Connell 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry 41 years old
Frank Hernandez 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez 25 years old
Kimberly Morris 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr. 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr. 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright 31 years old
In closing… a poem by Mary Oliver…
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?