On the evening of June 12th, 2016 around 2 a.m. EST, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history was committed. The unfathomable happened to those who were just out to have a good time with their friends and unwind from a long week. The city of Orlando has offered to purchase Pulse nightclub in the past, but the owners have Pulse near and dear to their heart. Thus, they’ve now decided to turn the museum into a memorial for those beautiful, innocent, courageous souls that lost and fought for their lives that terror-stricken morning.
As a resident of Orlando for almost two and a half years, the Pulse attack sent a shockwave through the world, but even more-so throughout the city of Orlando. My social media newsfeed was filled with the devastating news and messages and texts from loved ones poured in throughout the entire day. I had friends that frequented Pulse and said it was a very friendly, upbeat, and family-oriented club. Those that went often were familiar faces, and they grew as a family with everyone else at the club.
Going out anywhere in Orlando is a guarantee to see a “Love is Love” or “Orlando Strong” bumper or window sticker, yard sign, or t-shirt. When I go home from one of my internships, I pass by Pulse. There is always someone paying their respects or leaving a bouquet of flowers and/or a card or sign. The atmosphere around Pulse is hard to put into words, as there aren’t any. It renders you speechless as you wonder how one can be so hateful to commit such a heinous act of violence against loving and innocent people. When I drive by, the horrors of that night flow through my mind, and I can’t even begin to fathom the immediate tragedy, fear, and panic that those experienced.
The owner of Pulse, Barbara Poma, stated that the nightclub will become a permanent memorial and museum for those that lost their lives and those who survived. It will be funded through the onePULSE organization, a non-profit organization where Poma is the CEO and executive director. Aside from construction costs, financial aid will be provided to those that were victims, and an education fund, community grants for the victims’ families, and scholarships for those that lost their lives will be started. The museum and memorial is set to open in 2020.
The onePULSE Foundation has received a tremendous amount of support from supporters like Andy Cohen, Ellen Degeneres, and Lady Gaga. Furthermore, Lance Bass and NBA star Jason Collins also serve on the foundation’s board of trustees.
Pulse operated as a fun, upbeat, and lively gay bar in southern Orlando prior to the horrific events that took place on June 12th, 2016. Shortly after the shooter opened fire on the clubgoers, he swore allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call. As a result, 49 people were killed and 68 were injured. And the entire world’s ‘Pulse’ became one.