On Saturday members of the Westboro Baptist Church loudly protested the wake of one victim of the Pulse shooting in Orlando. But the anti-gay church members were met by counter-protesters who shielded grieving family members from the signs and shouts of the protesters.
Tampa activist Dezeray Lyn was outside the funeral of Pulse nightclub shooting victim Christopher Andrew Leinonen.
“Beginning at 9:00 a.m. this morning, hundreds of us started to gather in Orlando, at Lake Eola Park, to prepare to show our solidarity and support to the family of Drew, one of the 49 who was killed in the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. We were also there, distinctly, to block a few Westboro Baptist Church members, who came holding really offensive, horrific signs. We very strongly didn’t want that message to even be seen by the family and the mourners that were at the funeral.
“So, we gathered and we all marched over to the church and stood and sang songs and people were incredibly emotional. Many people wearing giant angel wings came up and stood alongside the church to block, specifically, those hate signs from the Westboro Baptist Church members. I think no matter how much everybody was anticipating the kind of things that they would be holding and saying, it was still really shocking and really upsetting to everybody, once they showed up holding these horrible, horrible signs and images and started screaming and disrupting things.
“But, people completely ignored them, our singing drowned them out, our signs completely eclipsed the sight of them. It was a really, really beautiful moment and a beautiful event and the people of Orlando have a lot of support in helping them to heal from this.”