Elon gathers in wake of Orlando mass shooting

More than 75 people crowded Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center Monday to support one another and remember the victims of the Orlando shooting.  

A large gathering of students, faculty, staff, alumni and local community members overwhelmed the offices of Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center on the second floor of Moseley Center late Monday afternoon. There were a wide range of emotions expressed, including tears, anguish, numbness, frustration and anger about the Orlando nightclub attack that claimed the lives of at least 49 people. When the GLC office suite filled up, arriving people spilled out into the hallway, listening for well over an hour to the painful personal reflections people shared about their reactions to the tragedy. As part of the gathering, the names of the Orlando victims were read out loud.

The gathering of friends was organized by the center’s director, Matthew Antonio Bosch, and Dana Carnes, associate director for the Center for Leadership. Bosch said he was shocked at the big turnout at this quiet time of year on campus. “I think this was important because the community needs to come together,” Bosch said. “It reminds us that we are all connected. It reminds us that we have support. It reminds us that even in some of the darkest of times, there are people in the next office over, or down the hall, who are dealing and grappling with the same difficult topics. If there’s one thing I know about Elon, it’s that people really want to come out and show their love for one another.”

Bosch said that people who are hurting in the wake of the tragedy should “find someone they love and hug them.”

Earlier in the day, about 20 people gathered for a vigil in the Sacred Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion to light candles, pray together for the victims and share their deep sorrow.