Wilton Manors to hold Stonewall Festival week after Orlando massacre
City flies flags at half-staff Monday in solidarity with victims
WILTON MANORS, Fla. – Residents of Wilton Manors held a prayer vigil Monday, a day after a gunman killed 49 people inside a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Flags were flying at half-staff in the close-knit community to show solidarity with the victims of the Orlando tragedy, but fear on the streets is still present.
"I think people are going to be a lot more guarded," Mark Kent, who works in Wilton Manors, said. "I think we're afraid that when fear gets a little bit of a stronghold that more hate will gather around that for an opportunity."
The Orlando massacre happened a week before Wilton Manors, which is home to a large LGBT community, is set to gather for its annual gay pride celebration, Stonewall.
"Some people think, 'Should I go or should I not?' But my thing is we have to come out because if we don't come out and support these events -- the terrorists, they win," Lorenzo Robinson said.
Wilton Manors Mayor Gary Resnick is also the spokesman for the city's Stonewall Pride festivities.
He said there have been plenty of closed-door meetings about the fate of this year's celebration.
"As of right now, it's a go," Resnick told Local10 News reporter Terrell Forney.
"Was there ever talk of pulling the plug?" Forney asked.
"It's still a fluid situation, and as you indicated, there are meetings going on even this week with the FBI and they'll determine what they'll need to do," Resnick said. "We think we're the heart and soul of the gay community, not only in Florida but around the country, so we're doing everything we can to make sure this event is going to be as safe as possible for the people that want to attend."
The Stonewall festival is scheduled for Saturday.
The city's police department is working with the FBI and said it will draw in more resources and manpower ahead of the event, which draws thousands of people every year.
"We're going to provide the safest environment possible," Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O'Connell said. "We've intensified our patrols through the drive and that's probably going to be something that's going to go in perpetuity, but certainly over the next month or so."
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