Hundreds of Houstonians attend vigil at City Hall
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Hundreds of Houstonians from different religions, races and backgrounds gathered at City Hall Thursday night to show the world this city doesn't tolerate hate.
The mayor's office organized the vigil in response to the deadly attack at a Sikh house of worship in Wisconsin.
The vigil was held at the steps of City Hall to show a solidarity for Houston's Sikh community, but what amazed so many people out in the audience was the different faiths that were represented there.
"There are various reason why people are hateful; often times the rule is fear," said Sikh community volunteer Bobby Singh.
More than seven religions were represented on the steps of Houston City Hall, but the message was synonymous.
"What makes some so fearful of anyone who doesn't look or believe as they do," said Elliot Gershenson with Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.
Mayor Annise Parker hosted a vigil for the victims of the Oak Creek shooting in Wisconsin on August 5. The gunman, Wade Michael Page, killed six before fatally shooting himself. Much of the Sikh community in attendance donned blue shirts with the victims names inscribed on the back.
Like the diverse heads of religions seated in front of City Hall, the crowd also reflected Houston's diverse culture and beliefs.
"I'm a Catholic," vigil attendee Ivan Sanchez said.
"I was brought up in a Baptist family. My father is a preacher," vigil attendee Laura Reaves said.
Different beliefs or not they share in the Sikh community's time of pain and sorrow.
"I was almost in tears. It's so joyful to see so many different religions actually come together and embrace each other," said San Moajangig, a member of the Sikh community said.
The hundreds of Sikhs attendance, proud to see different faith supporting them.
"It's pretty awesome to see so many people here and so many different religions here. A lot of support. We need all the support," another attendee said.
Finally candles were lit in honor of the victims and a show of solidarity against hate crimes and religious intolerance.
When the vigil ended, a lot of people left in a calm and reflective state. They also said it's a huge step forward for Houston's religious community.
local, erik barajas
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