Pulse owner to announce memorial details May 4

Pulse (Photo by David Taffet)

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.”

 

—  Tammye Nash

Trans Pride Initiative holding vigil for slain community members

Trans Pride Initiative is inviting everyone to participate in a Community Candlelight Memorial and Rally for Trans Inclusiveness on Friday, March 3, from 7-8 p.m. at Reverchon Park Recreation Center, 3400 Maple Ave.

“We invite you to celebrate the love and lives of our transgender sisters and brother we’ve lost this year,” organizer Shannon Walker wrote on the Facebook page announcing the event. “We are getting off to a horrible start in 2017, so community awareness and support is desperately needed at this urgent time.”

Walker said the vigil will be live-streamed on Facebook so that those unable to attend can participate through the Trans Pride Initiative Facebook page, and “say their names:”

• Mesha Caldwell: 41-year-old hairstylist and makeup artist in Canton, Miss., found shot to death on Jan. 4, near a road just outside the Canton city limits. Police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports misgendered Caldwell.

• Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow: 28-year-old customer service agent for Lawrence & Schiller Teleservices, found dead in her apartment in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Jan. 6. She was a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe and was a member of the Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies group. A member of that group suggested she may have been killed as early as Jan. 1. Police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports misgendered Wounded Arrow.

• JoJo Striker: 23-year-old Toledo, Ohio woman found in an empty garage on Feb. 8. She died of a single gunshot wound to her torso, and police are investigating her death as a homicide. Initial media reports and statements from her family misgendered Striker.

• KeKe Collier: 24-year-old Chicago resident was killed Tuesday, Feb. 21, while sitting in a car with a man in the Englewood neighborhood where she lived. She died of multiple gunshot wounds. Initial reports in the Chicago Tribune identified Collier — also known as Tiara Richmond — by the first name “Donnell.” She was the second trans woman murdered in Chicago within six months; T.T. Safore, 28, was found dead, her throat cut, Sept. 11 near railroad tracks in the West Garfield Park area.

• Chyna Gibson: 31-year-old, also known as Chyna Doll Dupree, currently living in California, was shot to death Feb. 25 in New Orleans, where she had gone to visit family for Mardi Gras. Witnesses reported hearing as many as 10 gunshots. Gibson was a popular entertainer on the House/Ball and pageant circuits, and memorials for her were held in Dallas and in Houston.

• Ciara McElveen: 21-year-old New Orleans resident murdered Feb. 27, just two days after Chyna Gibson was shot to death. A witness said that a man stabbed McElveen in his car, then pulled her from the car, slammed her head on the pavement and ran over her before leaving the scene. Initial media reports misgendered McElveen.

• Jaquarrius Holland: 18-year-old Monroe, La., resident was shot to death during a verbal altercation on Feb. 19, but was initially misgendered by media reports. Monroe police have issued an arrest warrant for Malcom Derricktavious Harvey in connection with Holland’s death.

• Sean Ryan Hake: 23-year-old trans man, shot to death on Jan. 6 by a Sharon, Penn. police officers who were responding to a 9-11 domestic violence call at the home Hake shared with his mother. The Mercer County D.A.’s office opted not to file charges against the officers who shot Hake, saying that he was armed with a utility knife, had threatened his mother with the knife, was bleeding from his wrist, and then advanced on the officers with the knife, despite their warnings. Hake’s family has said they do not believe deadly force was warranted.

 

—  Tammye Nash

City of Orlando buying Pulse nightclub

hillary-at-pulse-web

In this photo from the Orlando Sentinel, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lays a bouquet of roses at the makeshift memorial to the Pulse victim, shortly after the shooting.

The city of Orlando has reached a deal to buy the Pulse nightclub and will turn the site into a permanent memorial to the 49 people killed and 53 injured when a gunman walked into the club in the early morning hours of June 12 and opened fire with a semiautomatic, assault-style rifle.

The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting committed by one person in U.S. history. The gunman was killed by police.

The city has agreed to pay $2.25 million for the club, and Mayor Buddy Dyer told the Orlando Sentinel the city won’t be rushing to change the club, which has become a gathering place for mourners — both locals and visitors.

“There are lots of people that are making a visit to the site part of their trip, part of their experience of Orlando, so I think 12 to 18 months of leaving it as-is would be appropriate,” Dyer told the newspaper.

Many of those who have visited the site since the shooting have left behind photos, notes, stuffed animals and more. The Orange County Regional History Center has collected many of the items to preserve them. A black chain-link fence had surrounded the club since right after the shooting. The city removed that fence in September, replacing it with a new barrier placed further back from the road and wrapped in a screen featuring images created by local artists.

The mayor also said city officials will be asking the community for ideas on what form the memorial should take, and that they haven’t ruled out the possibility of leaving at least some part of the site intact — for instance, the roadside sign bearing the “now-iconic” Pulse logo.

Dyer said the ultimate goal is to “create something to honor the memory of the victims that are deceased [and] those that were injured, and a testament to the resilience of our community.”

The sales contract with the city was signed Friday by Rosario Poma, who owns the club with his wife, Barbara. Orlando’s City Council, which has the final say on the deal, will weigh in on it next week. Barbara Pomo opened in the bar in 2004 and named it Pulse in honor of her brother, John, who died of AIDS in 1991.

Below is video from the city of Orlando website of Mayor Buddy Dyer explaining the decision to buy the site:

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Items from the memorial to Orlando at the Legacy of Love monument have been located

UPDATE: We have been notified that the items missing from the Orlando memorial at the Legacy of Love monument have been located and are safe and sound.

The items were collected by someone who was afraid it was going to rain and the items would be ruined. They delivered the items to Resource Center, according to posts and Facebook, Resource Center will deliver them to Alexandre’s. From there, the items will be divided, with some going to the GLBT Community Center in Orlando and some going to the LGBT Archives at UNT.

 

Within hours of news breaking about the mass murder that started inside Orlando’s Pulse nightclub shortly before 2 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, Dallas’ LGBT community and its allies began leaving messages of sorrow, comfort and support — along with flowers and other tokens — at the Legacy of Love monument.

0715 flash

The monument, located in the heart of the city’s gayborhood, at the intersection of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road, is maintained by the Oak Lawn Committee. By the time the more than 1,000 participants in a vigil and march reached the monument on the evening of June 12, it was covered in flowers, posters and more — all left in memory of and in honor of the 49 people murdered and 53 others injured by the gunman who attacked Pulse.

The impromptu memorial grew throughout the week, with more flowers, more posters and more tokens of love, grief and solidarity were added to the site. This past weekend, members of Take Back Oak Lawn went over to to remove dead flowers and tidy up the memorial. They also worked with florists in the area, who donated $300-$400 worth of fresh flowers to replace the ones which had wilted and faded, according to TBOL member Cannon Brown.

TBOL had already made arrangements with Oak Lawn Committee to maintain the memorial, leaving the messages, posters, flowers and other tokens on the monument until funerals/memorials had been held for the 49 killed at Pulse, Brown said. At that time, all the posters, messages and tokens would be collected and either sent to Orlando to become part of a memorial there, or added to the LGBT archives at the University of North Texas in Denton, he added.

Brown also that TBOL had already collected three items left at the monument — a concrete statute of an angel, a glass cross and the Texas House of Representatives seal that had been on the flowers left by state Rep. Rafael Anchia’s office — and put them away for safekeeping until they can be sent either to Orlando or UNT.

However, Brown continued, when TBOL members went by on Sunday, they realized that all the items, except for the artificial flowers, had been removed from the monument.

“We talked to Michael Milliken with Oak Lawn Committee, and they didn’t do it,” he said. “We don’t believe it was done with any malicious intent, but we do want to get the items back. We want to save them all and have them be part of a memorial in Orlando or the archives at UNT.”

Brown said that the items taken from the monument could be left, anonymously, on the patio at Alexandre’s, 4026 Cedar Springs Road, if necessary. “We just want to get them back so we can make sure they are preserved,” he said.

—  Tammye Nash

Celebration of life set for Jake Ray Odom

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Friends are invited to gather at the Lee Park Pavilion, 3333 Turtle Creek Blvd., on Tuesday, March 8 at 5 p.m., to celebrate the life of Jake Ray Odom.

The celebration and memorial service will feature several speakers and performances. Those attending are encouraged to wear purple, black and white. Those attending are also invited to move to Tallywackers immediately after the service for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas memorial set for Nye Cooper on Sunday

Cooper.NyeNye Cooper, the popular actor and wit who passed away Feb. 9 following a long illness, will be celebrated at a memorial service planned for this Sunday.

Cooper’s friend Sue Loncar, founder and artistic director of Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, organized the event, which will take place at her theater, the Greenville Center for the Arts, 5601 Sears St., at 6 p.m. on March 1. Cooper performed at the theater numerous times, from one of his productions of The Santaland Diaries to the Texas Trilogy to an off-stage role in Marvin’s Room.

“I hope everyone can come,” Loncar said. “There will be a time for anyone to share a story or a remembrance of Nye. And [there will be] an open bar in Nye’s honor … he would like that!”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Here’s to the day we no longer need TDOR

By Rizi Xavier Timane

13th

Rizi Xavier Timane

Every year on Nov. 20, transgender individuals and their allies around the world commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

But make no mistake: This is not a holiday, and the ceremonies we hold are certainly not celebrations.

Rather, the Day of Remembrance is a solemn time when we can come together and reflect on the battles we have fought and continue to fight and those individuals we have lost — the transgender and other gender-nonconforming individuals who were innocent victims of violence because of who they were, because they had the audacity to live as their authentic selves.

I would like to say I’ve never experienced this extreme sort of prejudice before, but like most trans people, I have my stories. While I thank God there have never been any attempts on my life, there have been people around me who thought I would be better off — or they would be better off — if I were dead. While I was a university student in London, another young person studying there passed away, and some of my fellow African students (I am from Nigeria) made a point of saying, loudly and closely enough that they knew I would hear, that it should have been me instead.

Besides the defeating personal implications of hearing such a thing, this incident continues to be a sad reminder to me of how deeply many people undervalue transgender lives and how, at any moment, someone out there could hate us enough to kill us. It reminds me that it could easily be our pictures shown at memorial services on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

But this is part of what the day is for: to remind us that we all share this heavy burden, that we are not alone in our persecution and suffering.

Is this comforting? In some ways, yes. It’s always a comfort to know someone else feels as we do.

But it’s also problematic. That we even have to have such a day is, in my opinion, shameful not for those of us who participate or those we remember but for society as a whole — for the culture of conformity and hatred that keeps us hidden within ourselves, afraid to come out for fear of rejection and outright violence.

I don’t want a day of remembrance. I want a Pride day, like the LGB community has. Or no day at all because the murders of transgender individuals have ended in every nation around the world.

How can we make this happen? How can we eradicate the need for a Transgender Day of Remembrance?

In general we need more allies, more compassion, more understanding and more tolerance. We need more safe spaces in which we can raise our voices and share our stories. We need mandatory diversity training in schools and universities, police departments, hospitals and businesses so everyone will be aware of and understand transgender individuals and issues. We need nationwide laws to ban discrimination based on gender identity and presentation.

We need all this for our safety. Most of all, we simply need the deaths to stop.

Rizi Xavier Timane is a transgender minister, author, recording artist and outspoken advocate for the LGBT community. He has performed his positive, LGB-inclusive inspirational music at venues all across the U.S. and internationally. In his memoir, An Unspoken Compromise, Timane shares his journey to self-acceptance as a trans man of faith; he also writes for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance blog, is a sought-after public speaker on the intersection of religion and LGBT civil rights, and holds a master’s in social work and a Ph.D. in Christian counseling.  As the founder of Rizi Timane Ministries and The Happy Transgender Center, he provides affirming spiritual support to people of all faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities. Having been subjected to what he terms, “involuntary religious-based abuse” in the form of multiple exorcisms to pray the gay or trans away and the subsequent self-loathing and drug/alcohol abuse that resulted from that Timane is a firm believer in spiritual affirmation for the trans community. His greatest accomplishment has been the establishment of an annual transgender surgery and hormones scholarship for trans-persons who, for whatever reason, cannot afford the surgery or hormone therapy they want and need.

—  Tammye Nash

Chris Miklos to be remembered at Dallas Eagle Friday night

Miklos

Chris Miklos

Chris Miklos, the popular bear who died suddenly in his sleep this week at age 40, will be remembered by his friends Friday night with a celebration at the Dallas Eagle. “Join us for a night of celebrating and dancing, the way Chris would have wanted us to,” the invitation reads. Folks will gather to remember Chris starting at 11 p.m.

You can read the invite and spread the word here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Rev. Amy Delong, tried by Methodists for being a lesbian, to preach at Bering Memorial Methodist Church

Rev. Amy DeLong

Paperwork can be the bane of any job. For Rev. Amy Delong a simple annual report catapulted her into the maelstrom of the United Methodist Church’s debate on accepting LGBT people. DeLong visits Houston’s Bering Memorial United Methodist Church (1440 Harold) on Sunday, Feb. 12 to preach at both the 8:30 and 10:50 service.

In 2009 DeLong was approached by two women who wanted to get married. After conducting premarital counseling with the couple Delong agreed to perform the ceremony. As a clergy person, DeLong was required to report on her activities at the end of the year, including any weddings she had performed. She knew that the Methodist Church did not allow same-sex marriage but thought “I don’t know if anybody even reads these.” Boy, was she wrong!

With-in three days she was hauled into the her boss’s (the bishop) office. DeLong’s relationship with her partner Val was well known to her colleagues. “I’ve never had a bishop or a leader in the church or a pastor who didn’t know that I was gay,” says DeLong. “Everyone knows Val.” But the church was determined now to make an example of her, and DeLon’s relationship would now be an issue.

In 2011 DeLong was tried in the church’s court with violating the Methodist “Book of Discipline” by being in a same-sex relationship and by performing a same-sex wedding. During the trial she refused to answer pointed questions about her and her partner’s sex life. “No heterosexual couples are ever asked if they
still engage in genital contact in their marriages,” says DeLong. That refusal left the court with no evidence against her on the first charge.

She was convicted of performing the wedding and suspended from ministry for 20 days. The court also required DeLong to work with a group of ministers to prepare a statement on how to “help resolve issues that harm the clergy covenant, create an advesarial spirit or lead to future trails.” “This sentence is complicated,” says DeLong. “It doesn’t lend itself well to media soundbites. So a lot of folks have been saying to me ‘I can’t tell, is this penalty good?'” DeLong responds with a resounding “Yes!” Saying that she welcomes the opportunity to write, teach and study on a topic dear to her heart.

DeLong recalls that during that initial meeting in the bishop’s office one of the bishop’s assistants referred to her as a “self-avowed practicing homosexual.” To which she responded “Val and I aren’t practicing any more… we are pretty good at it by now.” The assistant laughed. More than anything that is the impression one gets of DeLong: someone with a lot of humor and aplomb who is unwilling to back down from a fight for justice.

After the jump watch a clip of DeLong talking about her experience.

—  admin

If you like it build a museum to it, Houston may get Beyoncé monument

I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.

Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?

Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,

““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”

Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.

Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.

—  admin