CTX woman remembers lives lost on anniversary of Pulse nightclub massacre

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 20:38:13-04

On June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

It remains one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. There were 49 people killed in the massacre and more than 50 others were injured.

Today, the men and women who lost their lives are being remembered throughout the Central Florida community and beyond.

Deanna Leach, a member of the LGBT community in Waco, was nearly brought to tears when she thought back to the day it all happened.

"I went outside and just started pulling weeds," Leach said. "Of course it was Gay Pride Month and so that was very sad to me and I ended up writing a poem. We've seen transgender people and gay people be killed just for who they are over the years, but to have a mass shooting like that was just heartbreaking."

Later that evening, Leach attended a vigil with other members of the LGBT community and its allies.

"I've been fighting for gay rights since I was in my early 20s and I'm in my late 50s now, so I've been at this a long time and when that happened it really, really hit home," Leach said.

Along with help from her friends, Deanna organized the Out on the Brazos Waco Pride Network that connects members of the LGBT community in the Waco area. The group's mission is to advocate for social justice and LGBT rights, while working towards creating a community with peace, liberty and justice for everyone.

More than 400 people showed up to the group's first major event last October. The next Out on the Brazos event is set for Oct. 13. More details can be found here.

Leach said the pain from the massacre still lingers and she hopes that people don't forget the lives lost in the years to come.

"It keeps us engaged and reminds us that there's so much more work to be done, not just in the gay community. There's a lot more done to stop mass shootings in the United States," Leach said. "We can't let it continue to be normalized."

A number of events are going on around Orlando today, including random acts of kindness and remembrance ceremonies, to honor those who are no longer with us. 

Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.