A large number of Houstonians of all ages, races and sexual orientations stood together in front of Houston City Hall Wednesday to honor the 49 individuals slain at an Orlando gay nightclub. Photographer F. Carter Smith captured the atmosphere in these striking photos.
As dusk fell, the reflecting pool area at Houston City Hall lit up with flickering candlelight flames.
One attendee stands in solidarity with an "I Am Pulse" sign, referring to the Orlando nightclub where the shootings took place.
Houstonians filled the outdoor area around the reflecting pool at Houston City Hall.
Many attendees wore rainbow-hued pins.
A woman carries a sign with the hashtag #WEAREORLANDO.
Many in the crowd proudly carried signs of identity and support.
Mayor Sylvester Turner greets an attendee.
The rainbow flag was proudly displayed.
Mayor Sylvester Turner, flanked by most Houston City Council members, representatives of faith-based organizations and leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community , gave an inspiring speech, vowing that diversity will be celebrated in Houston.
"We are not going to make people secondary citizens in this city. We are all Houstonians. We all stand together, We all bleed together. and we all die together," Turner said. "And the memory of the 49 will not suffer because 2.2 million Houstonians — we are going to dance for them and we are going to build this city even better than it has ever been."
A large crowd voices their support for inspirational words from public officials and other speakers.
Attendees of all ages and faiths attended the vigil. Center, the Rev. William Lawson, founding pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church.
A Houston Police Department officer stands at attention.
At nightfall, Houston City Hall was bathed in colors of the rainbow flag, the symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer rights movement.
Candles lit up the area around Houston City Hall.
Attendees passed the light from candle to candle at dusk.
Candles lit up the area around Houston City Hall as the names of the 49 victims were read.