US Congress votes to make Pulse nightclub a national memorial
'Keep dancing Orlando': Five years later, Pulse nightclub shooting survivors seek to embody strength of LGBTQ community
The early-morning attack at a gay nightclub in Florida on June 12, 2016, left the LGBTQ community grieving and on edge during Pride celebrations.It was the nation's deadliest mass shooting, a uniquely shocking and undesirable mantle that Orlando held for only one year before an attack left 60 dead during a country music festival in Las Vegas. In a country plagued by gun violence and an almost steady stream of mass shootings, the death toll in Orlando was shocking and thrust the city at the epicenter of conversations about gun control reforms and terrorism.
Three days before the fifth anniversary of the, Florida, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation designating the site of the gay club a national memorial.
The House passed its version of the bill May 12. The measure now goes to President Joe Biden, who has supported aproposals and is expected to sign it into law, though it’s unclear when.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced the Senate bill. Scott was governor at the time of the massacre, which saw 49 clubgoers killed and dozens more wounded before the shooter, Omar Mateen, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement after a three-hour siege.
Congress designating Pulse massacre site a national memorial
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for stronger gun safety measures Wednesday as she marked Congress' passage of legislation designating the site of the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in American history as a national memorial. The bill creates the National Pulse Memorial at the site of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Five years ago, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others there. The Senate voted finalThe bill creates the National Pulse Memorial at the site of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Five years ago, a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others there.
While introducing the measure Wednesday, Scott said speaking to parents who lost children and attending funerals and wakes for the young victims following the June 12, 2016, attack “was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” according to the.
“[It was] an evil act of terrorism designed to divide us as a nation and strike fear in our hearts and minds,” Scott later said in a statement. “But instead, we came together, and supported each other through heartbreak and darkness, to preserve and rebuild.”
While a similar bill passed the House in 2020, it languished in the Senate. Scott’s measure passed by unanimous consent, enjoying bipartisan backing from fellow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, and California Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat.
Five years after Pulse massacre not much has changed in America
Barbara Poma, owner of the former Pulse nightclub, woke up on the five-year anniversary one of the worst mass shootings in US history to news of more mass shootings. © Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP A visitor leaves a flower and messages at the onePULSE Foundation's Pulse Interim Memorial, Friday, June 12, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. Friday marked the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting. (Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP) "There is a gun violence problem. There is a hate problem," said Poma, the founder and executive director of the OnePulse Foundation, a local nonprofit created after the shooting.
In a statement, Rubio said he was “inspired by Orlando’s continued resiliency, pride, and strength.”
On, Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the attack, thanked the Florida delegation “for recognizing our hallowed ground.”
A message from the Pulse nightclubalso expressed gratitude for the bill’s passage.
“The unanimous consent is such welcome news as we are set to mark the five-year remembrance of the Pulse tragedy,” the statement said. “This recognition from both the House and Senate means so much to the LGBTQ+ community. #WeWillNotLetHateWin”
The vote came one week after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantisthat cut funding for Orlando’s LGBTQ Community Center and an organization that houses homeless LGBTQ youth.
Wolf, now media relations manager for Equality Florida, said the cuts meant DeSantis “has declared war” on the state’s gay community.
Senate passes legislation to make Pulse nightclub a national memorial
H.R. 49, named for the number of victims in the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack, passed with a unanimous vote.The bill, S. 1605, passed by voice vote with no dissent three days before the anniversary of an attack on the Orlando, Florida night spot popular among gay club goers.
“Before the 2019 Remembrance Ceremony, Governor DeSantis stood on hallowed ground, steps from where I escaped the building in 2016, and promised me that he would always support those of us impacted by the Pulse nightclub shooting,” Wolf said in a statement. “Today, almost two years later to date, he vetoed mental health services for us. I will never forget.”
Pulse’s designation as a memorial does not make it part of the U.S. National Park System or require federal funding to be used in creating any monument.
In 2019, the nonprofit onePulse Foundationfor a museum and monument, created by French architectural firm Coldefy & Associés in collaboration with Orlando-based HHCP Architects.
The monument incorporates a reflecting pool and a garden with 49 trees ringing the remains of the nightclub, where an interim memorial currently stands.
A half-mile away, on West Kaley Street, the museum would rise “like a budding flower,” the foundation said in a news release, with a rooftop memorial offering views of both the memorial and what is being called the "Pulse District" south of downtown Orlando.
Five years after the Pulse nightclub massacre the fight for LGBTQ+ rights continues
The Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando is a harrowing and poignant reminder of why we need legislation like the Equality Act. After Pulse, politicians and elected officials on both sides of the aisle were quick to denounce violence and acts of hate against the queer community. Many outwardly express their support for the LGBTQ+ community today, especially during pride month. While verbal support can be powerful, we need to enact laws that guarantee the same rights and legal protections as other historically marginalized groups. Five years have passed since the Pulse shooting.
The first phase of the memorial, a "Survivors Walk" featuring interactive sculptures, will span a half-mile of South Orange Avenue and connect the memorial to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where many wounded were taken the night of the attack, the.
Initially set for 2022, completion of the museum and memorial has been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Sentinel.
In February, singeras national spokesperson for the foundation’s efforts to raise $49 million for the project.
In addition to the National Pulse Memorial and Museum, the money would be used for community outreach, educational programs and to establish 49 legacy scholarships.
Followon , &
Pulse Survivor Questions Timing of Ron DeSantis Vetoes, Why LGBTQ Isn't Represented on Staff: 'It's Shameful' .
"Governor DeSantis has a desperate desire to be president of the United States," the Pulse nightclub shooting survivor said. "He has been seeking the sort of things that he's going to create an image around.""It's embarrassing," Wolf told Newsweek, speaking of DeSantis' actions. "It's shameful and it's disgraceful that the governor would, again, put a target on people who so desperately needs support in our society—not to be demonized—especially during Pride Month.