DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Today marks one year since the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. It happened at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida where a man opened fire after declaring his allegiance to the Islamic State. Forty-nine people were killed and nearly 60 others injured.
The Dallas LGBTQ community held a march for unity over the weekend, but organizers say there is still a long way to go especially with the local attacks that happened before and since the Orlando shooting.
In the last year alone the Oak Lawn neighborhood has been the site of several hate crimes — all targeting gay men. In some instances victims say they were mugged or robbed.
Community leaders, like Rafael McDonnell with the Resource Center, say their push for more security and safety measures in the area continues.
Despite progress McDonnell says there are still concerns. “I think one of the big concerns is just a lot of the unknowns and no one can protect against an unknown, whether it is Orlando, London or wherever,” McDonnell said. “So, I think that is something that you are always going to have to be concerned about in any public setting in 2017.”
According to McDonnell, since June of 2016 The Resource Center has been part of a joint effort focusing on safety measures like increased patrols, private security guards and self-defense training classes.
Businesses in the area are also doing what they can to keep people safe. McDonnell says, “Some of the clubs have added additional private security guards or off-duty police officers particularly when we are dealing with large events. Here at The Center there have been additional patrols.”
Members of the Dallas LGBTQ community joined together to participate in a candlelight march over the weekend. The event was held near the Legacy of Love Monument and honored the victims of the Orlando shooting.
People carried signs with names of Pulse Nightclub victims during the Pride & Equality March on Cedar Springs. In Orlando, church bells across the city will ring 49 times at noon today — once for each person killed.