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Students Organizing In Support Of Orlando Nightclub Shooting Victims

People from all walks of life, including, of course, Penn Staters, were taken aback by the mass shooting that took place in an Orlando nightclub over the weekend. In addition to speaking out on social media, students are organizing events in recognition, remembrance, and support of the victims and communities affected by the worst mass shooting in United States history.

For the students currently in State College, the Social Justice Coalition is inviting anyone in town to “stand in solidarity” for the members of Orlando’s LGBT community. The group will organize on Old Main steps tonight at 6 p.m.

Others are organizing a candlelight vigil at the Allen Street Gates on Tuesday evening to honor and remember the victims of the shooting. The vigil will take place at 8 p.m. and though the event’s Facebook page doesn’t specify an organization or individual who is leading the vigil, it does say more information will be posted on the page tonight.

Students were otherwise moved by the event and spoke out regarding the LGBTQIA community and how the events impact the nation as well as the Penn State community. The College Democrats and Republicans released the following joint statement regarding the incident, submitted by Michael Straw:

Saturday night at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history took place. The Penn State College Democrats and Penn State College Republicans are truly saddened by these events. This horrible and hateful act of terror has taken the lives of 50 people and injured over 50 more.This attack was a hate crime against the LGBTQIA community at a time when they were supposed to be celebrating themselves and reflecting on their past struggles.The LGBTQIA community as well as the rest of America mourns this act of terror that has come upon us. This hate crime will not be forgotten in American history. However, we as a nation must strive to be better and reject hateful rhetoric that divides us. Together we must work to remember these victims of this horrific crime by looking to correct the errors that allowed for it to take place. Investigations will of course occur and dialogues will be started, but only together as a country will we be able to convince policymakers to pass hate crime, gun, mental health reform, and resolutions that will honor these victims. During this time, let us please all remember to be kind and respectful towards one another. The only way things will change is if we can engage in productive dialogue and work together to solve the problems facing our nation. Our organizations mourn with the LGBTQIA community, but as a Penn State community we, with the nation, will move past this crisis not only making ourselves stronger, but the nation as well.

Penn Staters’ thoughts and actions show that students are concerned about more than just the Central Pennsylvania bubble that is State College. Our thoughts go out to those impacted by this national tragedy.

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About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to lexi@onwardstate.com, or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.

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