Amid tragedy, a safe place
FAIRFIELD — They were hesitant, at first, to step up to the microphone, but they did. One by one, some of them with emotions still raw from Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
There, in the parking lot of the Trevi Lounge, across from the Home Depot, and next door to The Edge, they took to the microphone Tuesday night. Some gave their name and hometown, some gave just a first name.
Some were gay. Some were straight. They joined hands and sang along to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” And all were trying to find the words to express just what they felt about the latest mass shooting that left 49 people dead, another 50 injured.
There was Patrick Lynch, a regular at the Trevi, the only gay bar in Fairfield County.
“I first came out to my family when I was 13,” Lynch told the crowd of about 100, who were clutching candles, and each other.
He waited until he was 17, he said, to tell his best friends, unsure and afraid of how they would react. His fears, he said, were unfounded, as his friends embraced him.
“The amount of love that is out there every day,” Lynch said, is what gives him hope. “Everyone here, standing together, gives us hope, gives the future hope.”
Katia Capozziello, the bar’s owner, Lynch said, “gave us a home, and this is really our safe place. But it’s time for the whole world to be our safe place.”
There was Sarah Marhotra. She’s gay, Latina, and Indian.
“We will not participate in the Islamophobia,“ she said. “We have got to work together, everyone. We have to participate in radical love.”
And there was the man in the baseball cap. He didn’t give his name, but he didn’t hesitate to let everyone know what he was feeling.
“I’m done with the sadness, I’m over the sadness,” he said. “I’m pissed. We need to do something.”
He was, he said, tired of doing this every two months after another community — whether it’s an elementary school, a college campus, a movie theater, or a gay night club — is targeted by gun violence.
Capozziello, who opened the Trevi Lounge three years ago when she realized her gay friends had to travel to either New York or New Haven, made a promise to her customers.
“Trevi Lounge is our community, our family,” she said. “Our doors, and our hearts, will always be open to you, and that I promise you.”
Kupchick, who is related to Capozziello, served as the night’s emcee.
“I know everyone is hurting, and there’s a lot of fear,” Kupchick said. “It’s really important to come together.”
Anthony Crisci, the executive director of the Triangle Community Center in Norwalk, urged those at the vigil to hold onto the energy that they were feeling “for the next five months and be ready to vote for the people who will go to Washington and vote for the laws that will protect our community.”