Although Buffalo is more than a thousand miles away, Sunday morning’s mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando has hit close to home for the Latino community in Western New York.
"Our community needs to rally around 'us' as we rally around 'them,'” said Rev. Justo Gonzalez II, who moved to Buffalo from Orlando three years ago. “This is not only an attack on the LGBT community, but it was Latino night. It's a night where we dance and enjoy ourselves. So it's also an attack on our culture."
Latinos in attendance at Monday’s vigil for the victims in Niagara Square say their community must stand strong, in a showing of solidarity long ingrained in their culture.
"As the Hispanic community, we are raised with soul. We're raised with so much love and I just feel that as a Hispanic, and to the Hispanic community, we need to keep that," said Angel Cordero, who worked at a local club for 15 years.
Moving forward, Rev. Gonzalez said he hopes people of all backgrounds will become more accepting of others.
"I want to challenge people to continue to love and not hate,” Gonzalez said. “It is not an issue of one faith or another faith. All faiths together can deal with this issue and bring love and compassion to the community."