Groups Across Arkansas Gather In Bentonville To Mourn Orlando Shooting Victims

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- Communities across the nation continue to mourn the loss of life after a shooting at a gay bar in Orlando. Residents in Bentonville gathered at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on Thursday (June 16) to remember those lost.

“We often think of religion as supporting parochialism and separation,” said Robert Lennick, a Rabbi in Northwest Arkansas. “But in fact, there are a lot of people in this community and world that see religion as something that should bring us together, not divide us apart.”

Lennick hosted the event, which features music and guest speakers. The names of the shooting victims were also individually read aloud.

“This touches everybody. One way or another, it touches you," said Issa About, Vice President of the Bentonville Islamic Center.

“This is a chance for us to come together and share those feelings with other people," Lennick said.

One guest speaker said they could directly relate to those who lost their life.

"I’m transgender and Latino,” said Diego Barrera, a speaker at the event. “I think it is important to make both of those community's voices heard.”

Abboud said he hoped those in attendance would know the Islamic community supports them as well.

“The atrocities we have seen, this does not represent our community. It does not represent anyone's faith. It is against humanity," Abboud said. “The diversity we see in America is what makes it a fantastic place to live.”

Many in attendance said vigil's like this should show the nation is ready for inclusion, and unity as a whole.

"We are all praying, thinking, and wishing. We are fighting for change. And we are those voice of those who were silenced," Barrera said.