"It's a reminder we should love more, hate less" - Community responds to Orlando shootings

A very visible tribute from the city of South Bend to the community of Orlando.

People gathered along the river around sunset to watch the Riverlights lights turn colors of the rainbow.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was among those who gathered here.

It was just about a year ago when the mayor came out as gay. What happened in Orlando impacts him and impacts all of us.

"Everybody ought to enjoy safety and acceptance," Mayor Pete said. "Those are desires that know no boundaries. That's part of what it is to be human. Anyone who would take that away needs to know that we live in a community where we aren't going to let that happen," he said.

Before the River Lights tribute, a large crowd gathered at the LGBTQ Center in South Bend for a candle light vigil.

Supporters chalked the sidewalk to show support.

"I'm standing for them because they can't stand anymore," said Rebecca Reeder, a member of the LGBTQ community.

Many shared their own stories and thanked Mayor Pete for the role he is playing in the city.

Many members of the LGBTQ community say they feel safe here because of him.

"I just kind of started sobbing," said Cassie Walker, a member of the LGBTQ community. "I don't understand why something like this would happen and why it keeps happening. You see all of these people here and there's a lot of love, but there also is a lot of hatred and I feel like it's just getting worse and worse and worse," she added.

However, those positive feelings pale in comparison tonight to the heartbreak they are experiencing in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shootings.

"It shouldn't be whether you're gay, straight, black, white, brown, yellow - for some reason, all of these things about who we are has come to separate us instead of bringing us together and making us one unit of life and love in our community," said Jake Webster, a member of the LGBTQ community.

"I think it's very important that we express ourselves and now is a time when we need to be doing that more than ever," said Eli Williams, the Executive Director of the LGBTQ Center in South Bend.

While tonight's vigil and the River lights are simply gestures, the people involved in say these small gestures matter, as they're an example of love and kindness winning out against hate.

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