Local church hosts Pulse Nightclub memorial

AUGUSTA, GA (WJBF) – A local church is keeping the families and loved ones of those killed one year ago, in their hearts today.

People from around the CSRA gathered together to remember the 49 lives lost in the biggest tragedy in American history to date.

“Today we’re going to ring the bell 49 times starting at noon, and we’ll read out the names of everyone who died in Orlando last year,” said Gaye Ortiz, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist of Augusta.

“Nationwide each church bell that wants to participate will ring 49 times to honor the memories of those that were lost,” said James Mintz, VP of Augusta Pride.

Churches across the country participating Monday in the “49 bells” ceremony. The minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta said her church decided to take part because the next closest church participating was in Atlanta.

“And so I just decided that I would rather be in Augusta so, I decided that I would open it up for everybody to come here, so it’s an enter faith remembrance really for people of all faiths and non,” said Gaye Ortiz, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist of Augusta.

James Mintz, VP of Augusta Pride says over 50 years ago same-sex couples could be arrested for holding hands. And though things have gotten better, they want to continue to let their voice be heard. And they say it’s even more important since the pulse nightclub tragedy.

“Mostly it’s just an attempt to help the grieving process and fight for our rights in the future,” said James Mintz, VP of Augusta Pride.

“And with the Augusta Pride Festival coming up, people say this event to shine the light on those that lost loved ones is spreading love to the entire community,”

“And we’ll pray that maybe their will not be anything like this in the future, but if their is that we will be strong and we’ll stand up against hate,” Gaye Ortiz, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist of Augusta.

“it’s very important to show that their is visibility in the community and show that we’re here. We’re your neighbors, your family members, your co workers, and your friends, and we’re apart of the community just like you,” said James Mintz, VP of Augusta Pride.

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