More than 75 people gathered at the Legacy of Love Monument at Cedar Springs Road and Oak Lawn Avenue at sunset on Saturday, June 30 to remember the teenage lesbian couple shot last week in Portland, Texas. Many brought candles and flowers they left on the monument.
The rally was organized by Daniel Cates, North Texas regional coordinator for GetEQUAL.
Norma Gan, congregational care minister at Cathedral of Hope, began the rally with a prayer for Mollie Olgin, 18, who was killed, and Kristene Chapa, 19, who remains hospitalized.
The first speaker, Equality Texas Executive Director Dennis Coleman, said attacks on the LGBT community are increasing.
“I wish I could tell you these horrific attacks were a diversion from the norm, but I can’t,” he said.
He listed a number of recent incidents in Texas including a teen suicide that was the result of bullying.
“People are gathering at vigils like this one and saying ‘enough,’” Coleman said. “Demanding children — all children — be safe. This is a dark day for our community.”
Another speaker at the rally, activist CD Kirven, said: “I’m usually the one angry, telling people what to do in a situation like this. I find myself at a loss for words.”
Instead, she said read a poem that she wrote to pay tribute to the couple. Kirven has opened an account to collect money for Crimestoppers to use to pay for information leading to an arrest.
The final speaker, Rafael McDonnell of Resource Center Dallas, said people think crimes like this can’t happen here. He reminded the crowd of murders that occurred in nearby Reverchon Park.
“We gather now because Mollie was our sister,” McDonnell said. “And Kristene is our sister.”
He closed by invoking the Jewish prayer, “Mollie, may your memory be a blessing.”
Cates ended the formal part of the rally singing Holly Near’s “Gentle Angry People,” which Near sang on the night of the murder of Harvey Milk.
Chapa has not been told that her girlfriend of five months has died. As rally participants lit candles, some talked about how the news could affect her recovery.
Two gay Pride flags were laid out for attendees to sign. Cates said one would be sent to Olgin’s family and the other to Chapa.
More photos and video from the rally after the jump:
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