By Blake Haas
BLOOMINGTON – A local alternative bar is holding a memorial service this weekend to remember the 49 lives lost at an LGBTQ+ nightclub five years ago in Orlando, Florida.
In June of 2016, a shooter murdered 49 people and wounding 53 additional people in an act that also targeted the Latinx community.
Jan Lancaster, owner of the Bistro, downtown’s only ‘gay bar,’ told WJBC’s Scott Miller, the bar would hold a service on Saturday at 7 p.m. to raise awareness of gun violence and its disproportionate effect on minority communities.
“As you know, the Pulse event in Orlando happened on June 12th, and we were so devastated by that tragedy that we in just a few hours, we pulled together a piece rally that night. You know, I was expecting a few, 25-50 people; we ended up having about 400 people walk with us from the Bistro to Wither’s park and have a little ceremony there, so we have continued that annually.”
Lancaster, who has owned the bar for 30-years, said the bar had held a memorial service every year since the deadliest incident against the LGBTQIA+ community.
The memorial service will include 49 youth volunteers holding signs with names of the people lost on June 12, 2016.
Prairie Pride Coalition (PPC), McLean County Moms Demand Action, and the Bistro are cosponsors of the event.
The Bistro is located at 316 N. Main St. in Bloomington.
Blake Haas can be reached at Blake.Haas@Cumulus.com.