As the one-year anniversary of the Pulse massacre nears, the nightclub’s owner is expected to announce plans next week for a permanent memorial at the site.
“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,” owner Barbara Poma said in a news release this week. “It’s important that we as a community be mindful and take great care to preserve, honor and help heal.”
Poma has been talking about creating a memorial since the day after the shooting. Though the area was blocked off by police for a week following the attack, it has since become a magnet for grief, vigils, flowers, artwork and other makeshift remembrances. With people still visiting the club daily, Poma believes its time to officially commemorate the tragedy.
Though she had been in talks to sell the building to the city of Orlando, Poma changed her mind and launched a private foundation instead.
The planning process for the memorial is expected to involve input from the local LGBT community, with a town hall meeting to discuss design ideas. Poma previously announced that the upcoming anniversary will include two events on the Pulse property, as part of “Orlando United Day.”
Another major event on “Orlando United Day” will be a special concert produced with the assistance of Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan’s office. The tribute will include dances, musical numbers and readings from a variety of local and national artists.
“What happened at Pulse was the darkest day in our city’s history, and we continue to grieve for the victims and fight for those who are still suffering,” said Sheehan. “This June 12, our entire LGBTQ community and our allies need to stand together and continue to show that we are a strong, united city that responds with love.”
The site memorial and the planning process will be a project of the onePULSE Foundation, which Poma established. She serves as its executive director and CEO.
Though Poma has yet to say what kind of memorial she wants, she has been traveling to the sites of other mass shooting memorials with Miami artist Jefre. He’s posted photos on social media of the two at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
And so the journey continues for knowledge and understanding #911 … "#Healing is an Art..It takes #time.. It takes #practice…It takes #love…" #precedent memorial visits for #orlandopulsememorial #orlandounited #orlando#orlandostrong #pulseorlando #oneorlando #memorial #art #sculpture #orlando #lgbt #911 #911memorial #aidsmemorial #nyc #irishhungermemorial #paleypark
The foundation has been raising money to support the construction and maintenance of the memorial as well as to provide community grants to care for the survivors and victims’s families.
Poma plans to introduce the foundation’s Board of Trustees and members of the memorial project’s task force to the public on May 4.