Pittsburgh dances to support Orlando victims

Stephen Caruso | Contributing Editor

Pittsburgh’s still standing with the victims of June’s Orlando shooting – by not standing still at all.

On Friday, people danced with rainbow “#KeepDancingOrlando” signs as others strolled by or ate at nearby tables on their lunch break in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square. The Delta Foundation – a Western Pennsylvania LGBT organization – hosted the making of Pittsburgh’s “#KeepDancingOrlando” video from noon to 1 p.m. Josh Birt Media Productions filmed the event.

“#KeepDancingOrlando is a way to channel positive energy and honor the 49 victims of the June 12 Pulse nightclub tragedy by dancing in tribute to their memory,” Christine Bryan, director of marketing and development at the Delta Foundation, said in a release. “The social media campaign is designed to show the world that love conquers all and that joy and happiness can’t be stopped.”

The “#KeepDancingOrlando” campaign began after the organization Keep Dancing Orlando shared a video of Orlando residents dancing around the city to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

Candi Castleberry Singleton, the founder of the Dignity and Respect campaign, emceed the filming and urged onlookers to join in. She spoke about other events that have happened since the Orlando mass shooting.

“Differences are only barriers when we allow them to be,” Singleton said.

During the early morning of July 5, Alton Sterling was killed during a police confrontation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. On July 6, Philando Castile was killed during a traffic stop in St. Paul, Minnesota. Videos of both deaths went viral on social media throughout the week.

On the night of July 7, an otherwise peaceful protest in downtown Dallas, Texas, turned violent when 25 year-old Micah Johnson shot police officers, killing five and injuring seven other officers.

On Thursday night, 84 people were killed and more than 200 were injured after a truck drove through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France.

“We should not have to wait until [violence] impacts someone like us,” Singleton said, referring to the recent events. “We need to stand up when anybody dies.”

Josh Sayles, director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, came to show support.

“The way to show solidarity and support for other communities – you can’t wait until something happens in your community,” Sayles said. “To truly build relationships and bridges, it’s important to show a genuine interest in what is happening not just in your community but the communities all around you for all of us to work together to build a stronger Pittsburgh.”

Shadyside resident Marty Healey said the “#KeepDancingOrlando” video “shows Pittsburgh cares.”
“Pittsburgh has a good heart, Healey said. “We’re not always so sure how to give, but we want to.”

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