The Orlando Sentinel reports today (Tuesday, April 25) that Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse Nightclub, will announce a process for planning a permanent memorial at the club’s location on May 4. The club, at 1912 S. Orange Ave. in Orlando, has been closed since June 12, 2016, when a lone gunman murdered 49 people and injured more than 50 others in the worst mass shooting incident in modern U.S. history.
The Sentinel says that the process “is expected to include community input and, perhaps, a town hall meeting.”
The newspaper also notes that the city has announced plans for Orlando United day, a day of public events to commemorate the massacre, and that Poma has said the anniversary will include two events at the Pulse property — a midday ceremony with community speakers and a second gathering from 10 p.m.-midnight. A resolution has been introduced in the Florida Legislature designating June 12 as Pulse Remembrance Day in the state.
“The resolution, as sponsored by state Reps. John Cortes, D-Kissimmee, and Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, specifically recognizes that gay nightclubs like Pulse ‘carry historical significance and are often recognized as safe havens for the LGBTQ+ community,’ and that the Pulse attack was a hate crime that had disproportionate impact on ‘communities of color,’” the Sentinel reports.
The memorial is a project of OnePULSE Foundation, which Poma established and of which she serves as executive director and CEO. The foundation as been raising money to support construction and maintenance of a memorial, provide community grants to care for the survivors and victims’ families, endow scholarships in memory of each of the 49 victims and, ultimately, create a museum featuring artifacts and stories from the shooting.
Poma said she will introduce the foundation’s board members and the memorial task force project members on May 4.
Poma has said she created Pulse nightclub 12 years ago in memory of her brother John, who died of HIV/AIDS. She told the Sentinel, “Pulse has always been a part of me, but after this tragedy which took 49 lives, it became a part of this community and the world. It’s important that we as a community be mindful and take great care to preserve, honor and help heal.”