Rockland County Executive Ed Day along with Rockland Commissioner of Human Rights Penny Jennings on Wednesday led a coalition of community members in honoring the memory of 49 people killed in a Florida nightclub.
“We come together in unity to show that our strength as a community is greater than the hate of those who want to destroy the freedoms we cherish as Americans,” Day said, speaking from the steps of the old Rockland Courthouse.
“We will not let extremists take away our freedom. An attack on one part of our community is an attack on us all.”
The names of all 49 victims who were shot to death by an extremist in at a nightclub popular with an LGBT crowd were read by Rockland faith leaders and members of the local gay community.
A bell was rung after every name was said and a candle was lit for each person.
“Here in Rockland we will say no to hate,” Jennings said.
The Rockland Community College Performing Arts department performed “Imagine” by John Lennon. They were led by Christopher Humphreys and Patty Maloney-Titland.
Participants in the ceremony included:
- Robert Maher of TOUCH, Congers
- Phyllis Frank of VCS, New City
- Rev. Melvin Mungin, St. Paul’s AME Zion Church, Spring Valley
- Rabbi Jeremy Ruberg, New City Jewish Center and president Rockland Board of Rabbis
- Azeem T. Farooki, Islamic Center of Rockland, Valley Cottage
- Rev. Laura Krauss, Germonds Presbyterian Church, New City.
- Dr. Hussain Nayyer, Rockland Community College, Suffern.
- Gary Siepser, Jewish Federation, West Nyack.
- Sarah Goforth, VCS, New City
- Dane Pacriello, Nyack Library
- Jasmine Perez, Rockland Community Action
- Larry Tantay and Jay Tyler of C.A.N.D.L.E-
- Daniella Harris, Ramapo High School, Spring Valley.
- Rabbi Dov Oliver, Rockland Community College