Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub Will Become A Memorial to Honor The Shooting Victims

On June 12, an act of hate and terrorism was committed against patrons of Pulse Nightclub, and 49 lives, many of them PoC and members of the LGBTQ community, were taken away and countless others were changed forever. Now, the Orlando-based nightclub is looking to move forward by turning Pulse into a permanent memorial for the lives that were lost that night. OnePULSE Foundation, a nonprofit company started by club owner Barbara Poma, posted a statement on its website indicating the desire to create a memorial where the nightclub currently exists to act as “a sanctuary of hope dedicated to the lives affected and taken by the tragedy.”

OnePULSE was founded July 7 and will also raise money to help assist the surviving victims, as well as the families of those who died in the attack. Poma opened Pulse Nightclub in 2004 in honor of her brother John – who lost his battle with AIDS in 1991. Poma opened the club as a safe space for people to have fun and openly express their sexuality. Since the attack, Poma made it clear that the club would have a memorial in some form, telling the Orlando Sentinel through a spokesperson in a statement, “Anything we would ever do would include a memorial. We are still working through our grief.” Right now, it is unclear if the entire site will be a memorial or if the club will reopen in some capacity.

While this memorial will be a beautiful way to honor the innocent people who lost their lives for being who they are, it is a shame that it has to exist at all. It’s still heart-breaking to think about how these people were simply out enjoying their lives and having a great time in perhaps the only place where they felt safe. But, making a space to permanently and publicly honor the Pulse victims is Poma’s way of saying that queer lives are important and worthy of being remembered and celebrated. It’s a major way to help those directly affected by the shooting heal and to rebuild a place that has served as a pillar in the LGBTQ community in Orlando.

To learn more about OnePulse Foundation and stay up to date on the memorial and ways you can help, head over to its Facebook page. The organization plans to hold a benefit concert in California Aug. 19 to raise money for the memorial, though the details haven’t been announced yet.