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Golden Valley gay pride festival remembers victims of Orlando massacre

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Carlos Antonio Saldana embraces his friend.
Carlos Antonio Saldana embraces his friend David Brink while attending Golden Valley Pride Festival. Saldana is originally from Orlando, Fla., and was emotionally struck by the news of the shootings.
Tom Baker for MPR News

Attendees of a Gay Pride festival in suburban Minneapolis reacted with shock as news of the mass shooting in Florida continues to unfold.

• Tell MPR: What is your reaction to the Orlando massacre?

Minneapolis pastor DeWayne Davis said he told his congregation at All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church that he would participate in the festival to show the resilience of the LGBTQ community. Davis said the killing of at least 50 people in a club was "an attempt to rob our community of a place of gathering."

"I wanted to remind our people, we're not going to be discouraged or go back into anybody's closet," Davis said. "How we can embrace all of God's children so that people won't take people won't take religious messages or political messages to attack people so violently."

Rev. DeWayne Davis talks with a friend.
Rev. DeWayne Davis, pastor of All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church in Minneapolis, catches up with a friend at the Golden Valley Pride festival.
Laura Yuen | MPR News

LGBT Pride festivities are scheduled throughout June including the Twin Cities Pride festival on June 26.

Dot Belstler, executive director of Twin Cities Pride, took part in Golden Valley's festival.   "It's so hard to believe that this can happen, it's like when will it stop? And to target the LGBT community during pride month, it's horrific," Belstler said.

Belstler said that there is always security at Twin Cities Pride. But she said they may make an effort to ensure that security is more visible this year. 

Festival organizers currently are in talks with the Minneapolis Police Department and other organizations to ensure safety.

 Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the police department Twin Cities Pride organizers say they are working with. The story above has been corrected.