75ºF

Pulse nightclub owner guest of honor for NYC Pride Weekend

Barbara Poma spoke during LGBT Pride Rally

ORLANDO, Fla. – The owner of the Pulse Nightclub told a large crowd in New York City we need to turn our grief into solidarity and use love to overcome the evil that happened.

From the growing memorial in front of Pulse Nightclub to the Big Apple, the colors of the rainbow are crossing the country.

New York City kicked off its Pride Weekend Friday. It is a celebration of love and equality, but this year's festivities come with a somber and serious tone. The Orlando nightclub massacre is still on everyone's minds.

[MORE COVERAGE: Pulse Orlando Shooting]

Pulse owner Barbara Poma was the guest of honor for the LGBT Pride Rally. The names of the 49 who lost their lives were read aloud. There was then a moment of silence while their faces flashed across the large screens.

Poma told the crowd Pulse and all that it represents are still alive.

"I want you to know that Orlando and the world's gay community are strong and united. We will not allow evil to prevail," Poma said.

The club's entertainment manager, Neema Bahrami, echoed the same message.

"Allow the love to embrace you, so what I want you all to do right now for us in honor of the Pulse, Orlando, turn to the person next to you, give them a hug and say, 'My brother, my sister, I love you,'" Bahrami said.

Hours before the rally, President Obama issued an executive order designating the Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park across the street in Greenwich Village as a national monument. It is where the modern gay rights movement began in 1969.

Before leaving for New York, Poma told News 6 the Empire State knows what Orlando is going through after suffering their own tragedy on 9/11.

"They know what it's like to be at the center of something, whether it be gay-related or not," Poma said. "There's a community now. I just think it's time to be together."


About the Author: