The mother of one of the victims of the Orlando massacre has brought the Democratic Party Convention to tears.
On Wednesday night, Christine Leinonen, the mother of Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, spoke about the heartbreak of losing her son to the horrific mass shooting at the Orlando nightclub in June.
“It takes about five minutes for a church bell to ring 49 times,” she said.
“I know this because last month, my son Christopher, his boyfriend Juan and 47 others were murdered at a club in Orlando.”
Christopher, 32, and 22-year-old Juan were said to be deeply in love at the time of their murders.
“Christopher was my only child. As I used to tell him, you can’t do better than perfect,” Leinonen said.
“Christopher’s paternal grandparents met and fell in love in a Japanese internment camp. So it was in his DNA that love always trumps hate,” she revealed to loud applause.
The emotional woman was supported on stage by Christopher’s ex-boyfriend Jose Arriagada, with whom he had remained close, and friend Brandon Wolf, who both survived the attack.
Juan Ramon Guerrero & Christopher “Drew” Leinonen (right)
Leinonen also used her speech to call for the tightening of gun control in the US, a policy backed by Hillary Clinton; now officially the Democratic nominee in the presidential election.
“The weapon that murdered my son fires 30 rounds in one minute. An Orlando city commissioner pointed out the terrible math. One minute per gun to fire so many shots, five minutes per bell to honour so many lives. I’m glad common-sense gun policy was in place when Christopher was born, but where was that common sense the day he died?” she asked.
“I never want you to ask that question about your child. That’s why I support Hillary Clinton,” Leinonen explained.
The speech was met with a standing ovation from the audience. Watch it below.