Prizm News / August 25, 2018 / By Bob Vitale


Survivors of the 2016 mass murder participated in Akron Pride’s March for Equality.


By Bob Vitale

As celebration and music rang out Saturday during Akron’s second-ever Pride festival, a tribute to the 49 victims of the 2016 mass murder at Pulse nightclub in Orlando offered a somber reminder of one of the LGBTQ communities biggest tragedies. 

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“Orlando 49,” the creation of San Diego artist James Nocito, featured 49 farolitos, or luminaria, each bearing a portrait of one of the victims from June 12, 2016. 

Organizers called the piecewhich also has been shown in San Diego; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Kansas City, Kan.; Salt Lake City; and Norwalk, Conn.a “simple, dignified and respectful” commemoration. Viewers also had an opportunity to share their thoughts of hope and grief on a table covering set up with the display. 

Several Pulse survivors walked in Saturday’s March for Equality from Highland Square to Hardesty Park, where the Pride festival took place. Organizers said the festival drew 10,000 people, while about 2,000 participated in the march down Market Street. 


Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.