Community Rallies Around University Ave. Nightclub In Solidarity With Orlando

Jun 14, 2016

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Crowds poured into the streets around the Bachelor Forum bar on University Avenue in Rochester on Monday night  in solidarity with the Orlando, Florida LGBTQ community,  after the night club mass shooting this past weekend.

Scott Fearing, Executive Director at the Gay Alliance described the event as a blend of rally and vigil, as people decided how to try and process that event.

“We have community members who are still mourning what happened in Orlando yesterday and we’ve got people who are ready to be called to action and speak up and act out against this horrible act of violence. “

The idea of community was a theme that ran strong through all of the speakers, which included several Rochester City Council members, local activists and Mayor Lovely Warren.

Christopher Hennelly, a self-described activist for over 30 years, believes that in order to move forward, people must be supportive of each other.

“Cause you constantly see this news barrage of violence. and it says am I gonna be okay? Am I at risk when I I go out? What will happen to me? Who’s going to watch my back? And what you do learn, is that your community watches your back.”

Joshua Corey was also at the Monday night rally. Previously he was  living in Orlando, and frequented the Pulse nightclub where the shooting happened.

“Pulse was the place that we went weekly; it was a wonderful place and it still should be a wonderful place.”

Respect for everyone was one of the main messages voiced at the rally on University Ave. Peter Mohr is the owner of Bachelor Forum.

“If we respect each other, you know we don’t have to love each other, we don’t have to hate each other, we have to respect each other.” 

Mohr has owned the bar since 2008 and says there will be some additional security efforts, but plans to continue supporting the community. 

“We’ve been working with RPD, they’re sending more patrols in the neighborhood and stuff  like that and you know we have to continue supporting the community and not having fear cause fear is just as bad.”

Established in 1973, Bachelor Forum is said to be  Rochester’s oldest gay bar.

A group of local churches will hold a community prayer service for the Orlando victims in Rochester on Tuesday night. It's at 7:00 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Westminster Road in Rochester.