Orlando, Fla., marks five-year anniversary of Pulse nightclub shooting

1 month ago 26
google news Flipboard

A sign at the memorial in remembrance of the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fla., June 16, 2016. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI

A sign at the memorial in remembrance of the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fla., June 16, 2016. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

June 12 (UPI) -- Orlando community members plan pay homage to victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting five years ago during events Saturday.

At noon, churches in Orlando will ring their bells 49 times in honor of the 49 people killed after gunman Omar Mateen opened fire inside the nightclub on June 12, 2016. The mass shooting killed 49 people and injured another 53 in the deadliest attack on the American LGBTQ community in U.S. history. The shooter also died in a shootout with police.

Along with Orlando, churches around the world have been invited to participate in the bell ringing by registering with One Orlando Alliance, a coalition of over 40 organizations working together to transform Central Florida into a safe and inclusive community for those who are LGBTQ+, according to its website.

DeLand Pride will host a gathering at 2 p.m. at The Abbey bar and walk to the corner of New York Avenue and Woodland Boulevard where participants will read the names of the 49 people killed in the mass shooting.

The Coalition for Pulse will host a national panel discussion at 5 p.m. to end in a 49-second moment of silence at 6 p.m.

At 7 p.m., a OnePulse Foundation remembrance ceremony will occur at Pulse Interim Memorial, the site of the former nightclub. The ceremony at the memorial is by invitation only for Pulse families, survivors, first responders and ceremony participants but ClickOrlando.com and News 6 will broadcast the full ceremony.

A livestream of ceremony at the memorial will be also be played at the Dr. Phillips Center's Frontyard Festival on the front lawn. Tickets can be reserved online for free with doors opening for the event at 6 p.m. and the event starting at 7 p.m.

Throughout Florida, flags will be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Saturday upon an order by Gov. Ron DeSantis to mark the five-year anniversary.

The governor also declared June 12, 2016, as Pulse Remembrance Day in Florida in a proclamation that listed the names of the 49 people who died in the attack, and asked that all residents pause Saturday for a moment of silence in the morning.

"The State of Florida will not tolerate hatred towards the LGBTQ and Hispanic communities, and together we stand united against terrorism and hate of any kind," the proclamation read.

The proclamation comes amid recent criticism of DeSantis from LGBTQ+ advocates for other actions failing to support the community, including vetoing $150,000 in state funds that would have provided counseling for survivors, Orlando Sentinel reported.

Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf told the Sentinel that DeSantis broke a promise he made during a 2019 Pulse remembrance ceremony to take care of survivors through vetoing the counseling funds.

"Almost two years later to the date, he vetoed mental health services for us," Wolf said. "I will never forget."

DeSantis also eliminated $750,000 state lawmakers had approved for the Orlando-based Zebra Coalition to create housing for homeless gay and transgender youth in what advocates described as a "war" on LGBTQ+ community in Florida, the Sentinel reported earlier this month.

LGBTQ+ advocates also criticized DeSantis when he signed into law a bill banning transgender students from playing in women's public high school sports on June 1, the first day of the annual Pride Month, honoring the June 28, 1969, Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, which was a tipping point in the LGBTQ civil rights movement in the United States, according to the Library of Congress.

Jennifer Lopez and Lin-Manuel Miranda perform their new duet, 'Love Make the World Go Round,' benefitting the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, on the NBC Today Show at Rockefeller Center in New York City on July 11, 2016. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

  1. Homepage
  2. U.S. News