'Orlando Strong' signs pop up near massacre site at Pulse nightclub

People holding up signs in support of victims


ORLANDO, Fla. –  A few blocks away from where the massacre happened in Orlando, 12-year-old Idalys Rivera was showing her support Sunday.

She and her mom, Maggie Rivera, drove by the corner of Orange Avenue and Michigan Street where they spotted a man holding up a sign.

It was Trenton Venezia, 27, who decided to stand by himself with a sign that read, "One Family Community Pulse."

The mother honked her horn. That was when Idalys said she wanted to join him to show support. They stopped at a store to make signs and stood there with him for hours --- only to see the group grow and hear others honk.

"I wanted to let the community know that there is support," Venezia said in tears.

Rivera agreed. As she held up a sign, she said she wanted to teach her daughter a couple of lessons: "Love is love. If a woman loves a woman, that is love. I want her to view the LGBT community as our friends. We are standing out here against hate."

Idalys said she had been standing on the side walk for about four hours. She just finished sixth grade at Power Middle School. She made a heart out of cardboard and held it up with a smile.

"Today is a sad day, but it feels good to know that we are not the only ones here," Idalys said.

Others in the group were holding up signs with the hash tag, "Orlando Strong."

Sarah Sleeth, 34, had about 100 signs made with the hash tag. She co-owns the Orlando chain of Floyd's barbershops, which she said employs about 100.

"When we heard it was 20 we were already devastated," Sleeth said in tears referring to the number of victims. "Some of our employees were afraid to come back to work."

Sleeth said one of her barbershops is a few blocks away from the Pulse nightclub. An executive from her company suggested the hash tag.

"We have to come together and show that we can go through this tragedy together," Sleeth said. "We are Orlando strong."

Idalys said that when they get tired of standing at the corner of the street, she and her mom are planning to go to a vigil to support the families and friends of the victims. 

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