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The Pulse Nightclub Memorial (c) OutUK
Few LGBT people will forget the events of 12th June 2016, when an armed gunman carried out what was then the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and the deadliest ever against LGBT people, at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. 49 people lost their lives and 53 others were wounded in a late night hate crime terrorist attack in Florida's City Beautiful.
The repercussions of the attack five years ago are still to this day being felt across the whole of Orlando, with murals and rainbows serving as a reminder not to let hate win. They also honor the victims and survivors.

OutUK has visited the site which is filled with colorful artwork, flowers, and vigils. We bring you here some of those images and news of how the community is pulling together to support those who were involved. We also have details of how the fifth anniversary of this tragedy is being commemorated in Orlando and around the world.



The Pulse Nightclub opened on 2 July 2004 founded by Barbara Poma and Ron Legler. Poma's brother, John, died in 1991 from AIDS, and the club was "named for John's pulse to live on". Poma ensured that her brother's memory was prominent on the website, that the facility was more than "just another gay club". Ron Legler was President of the Florida Theatrical Association at the time of the foundation, and set up two other nightclubs in Florida before he left for Baltimore in 2011.

The Pulse Nightclub Memorial (c) OutUK
The Washington Post described the first 12 years of the Pulse Nightclub as "a community hub for HIV prevention, breast-cancer awareness and immigrant rights", and reported it had partnered with educational and advocacy groups such as Come Out with Pride and Equality Florida - who have been raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of this atrocity.
On June 12, 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass shooting, after which he swore allegiance to ISIS during a 911 call. The attack was at the time the deadliest single gunman mass shooting in United States history, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the September 11 attacks of 2001.

Three months later, the city of Orlando agreed to buy the nightclub for $2.25 million. Mayor Buddy Dyer expressed plans to convert the nightclub into a memorial to honour the memory of the victims but the owner Barbara Poma refused to sell the club. She announced instead her own plan for a permanent memorial and museum to commemorate both the survivors and lives lost.

She said that the initiative would be funded by the onePULSE foundation, a non-profit organisation where Poma serves as Executive Director and CEO. "Today, I'm able to share with you what I believe is news that will help in our mission of healing. It isn't easy for me to stand on this site. What began as a place for fun and joy is now sacred ground."
The Pulse Nightclub Memorial (c) OutUK
Today, the site of the nightclub has developed into a makeshift memorial filled with colorful artwork, flowers, and vigils. The onePULSE foundation are completing plans for a new permanent memorial. While many construction details have still to be made public, the foundation said Pulse will no longer exist as a nightclub.

They are soliciting input from survivors and victims' families. The memorial is scheduled to open in the next year or so, followed by the construction of the museum, which will contain stories and artifacts from the massacre. The foundation continues to provide financial assistance to victims of the shooting. In addition to construction costs, donations go towards an educational fund, community grants for the victims. families, and scholarships for the deceased.


The Pulse Nightclub Memorial (c) OutUK
Already, the foundation has received generous support from high-profile figures, including Andy Cohen, Ellen DeGeneres, and Lady Gaga. Lance Bass and NBA player Jason Collins also serve on the foundation's board of trustees.

If you would like to contribute please visit The onePULSE Foundation Website.




As we reach this fifth anniversary, the onePULSE Foundation have announced a list of community-wide activities being be held during the Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Week, which will take place from Saturday, June 5 to Saturday, June 12, 2021.

The Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Week begins with the 5th Annual 4.9K CommUNITY Rainbow Run, which begins and ends at Wadeview Park in downtown Orlando. The event also includes an Old Town Kissimmee Kids Fun Run around Wadeview Park and a virtual option for runners from around the world to join the event from any location at the runnerís pace. Last year, runners from every state in the United States and 15 countries and territories participated in the virtual run. To register and for more information, visit communityrainbowrun.com.

The Remembrance Week concludes with the Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Ceremony on Saturday, June 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. The observance brings together the families of those whose lives were tragically taken and provides them a space to remember their loved ones in peace. The ceremony also honors all who survived, the brave first responders and the trauma teams who sacrificed so much to save so many.

The Five-Year Pulse Remembrance Ceremony will take place at the Pulse Interim Memorial for a limited, invitation-only audience of Pulse families, survivors, first responders and those participating in the live ceremony.

If you wish to watch a live stream of the ceremony you can visit the Dr. Phillips Centerís Frontyard Festival, which takes place on its front lawn opposite the Orlando Town Hall. It became a community gathering place five years ago where people came together to mourn and remember; the lawn was also the site of a first-anniversary remembrance event in 2017.


The Pulse Nightclub Memorial (c) OutUK
onePULSEís mission is to create and support a memorial that opens hearts, a museum that opens minds, educational programs that open eyes and legacy scholarships that open doors. Its vision is to establish a sanctuary of healing and a beacon of hope by memorializing the lives taken, the lives saved, and all the lives affected by the tragedy.
The events of 12th June 2016 and the aftermath.

 

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