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Remembrance week honors those killed, forever changed by Pulse attack

Barbara Poma says healing process can't be rushed

ORLANDO, Fla. – Next Tuesday will mark two years since the brutal attack at Pulse nightclub that left 49 people dead and 68 people injured. 

Pulse owner Barbara Poma said the most important thing to do is to continue to honor and remember all those affected and to understand that many are still healing from the tragedy.

"I think that healing takes a really long time, and I think it really comes in small tiny steps," Poma said.

For Poma, the interim memorial is a glimpse into the healing process they've all been going through. Snapshots of the days that passed since the mass shooting and how everyone is trying to move forward, without forgetting the past.

"The sight is more presentable, it is dignified, it is respectful," Poma said. "It gives you a place to have some respite time, a place to walk the property and learn and interact with it. I think it gives everybody an opportunity to move to the next phase of healing."

Poma said she, like many others, are just handling things day by day, and she has been since the attack happened. 

She admits the recent trial and acquittal of Noor Salman, gunman Omar Mateen's widow, was a lot to deal with, but she only considers it a small chapter in her own healing journey.

"And we had to go through the chapter, and we did and then we couldn't get stuck there just like we couldn't get stuck in June 12th, we couldn't get stuck in the trial either," Poma said.

Poma said she encourages people to remember exactly how they felt on June 12, 2016, and to use that feeling to continue to take action to support the families affected whether it be through donating their time, their talents or their money.

"If you forget how you felt that day you'll never be able to create any kind of permanent change," Poma said.

The design and construction of the Pulse Memorial is being managed by the OnePulse Foundation. Here are some new things you can expect to see when visiting the interim memorial.

•    Offering Wall: A place for you to leave flowers or mementos of your love and support.
•    Viewing Areas: There are three viewing areas of the building. You will be able to see where the Pulse Nightclub iconic waterfall was at the entrance, a wall of the building where our 49 Angels names are listed and around the rear of the building to view the openings of the rescue from the bathrooms.
•    Ribbon Wall of Photographs: The panels surrounding the building are filled with pictures of the community and the world’s response of love and support and artifacts collected from the Orange County History Center.
•    Digital Guest Book: A place for you to sign in, leave a message, connect with the Pulse Memorial and share your experience.
•    Pulse Nightclub Sign: This is the original sign for the Pulse nightclub and a place you may write your own message on the panels provided.
•    Survivor Grove: A green space with benches to provide time for contemplation and reflection.

Poma said her focus will now be on creating a permanent memorial and museum,  but she would like to see the public focus on the families affected, as they continue their own healing journey. 

But she said you can't rush people through it.

"I think you need to be sensitive in their words, be bold in your action, show up, support be a listening ear for other people," Poma said.

Poma said the permanent memorial is expected to be complete by late 2020, with the museum completion to follow that date.

For more information on how to participate in Pulse Remembrance Week, visit www.onepulsefoundation.org/events/.
 
Public events
 
An Evening with Judy & Dennis Shepard
Home of Phil Kean & Brad Grosberg
Wednesday, June 6, 2018 / 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
2018 marks 20 years since the tragic murder of college student Matthew Shepard. onePULSE Foundation is proud to partner with the Matthew Shepard Foundation for an evening with Judy & Dennis Shepard. Matthew’s parents will share their two-decade journey of advocating for LGBTQ safety resources and their successful activism that resulted in the Matthew Shepard & James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009).  Tickets and event details are available at: www.onepulsefoundation.org/events
 
Second Annual CommUNITY Rainbow Run
Wadeview Park—2177 South Summerlin Avenue
Saturday, June 9 / 7:00 a.m. – Noon
On Saturday, June 9, 2018 the onePULSE Foundation will host the CommUNITY Rainbow Run in partnership with the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at UCF. An estimated 1,500 runners and walkers will join us at Wadeview Park for a 4.9K, Kids Fun Run and CommUNITY Festival.   The race is in honor of all affected by the Pulse tragedy and the course goes by the Pulse Memorial and the Orlando Health Trauma Center.  Registration and event details are available at: www.communityrainbowrun.com
 
O-Town Voices
The Margeson Theater at Shakespeare—812 E. Rollins Street
Sunday, June 10 / 7:30 p.m.
O-TOWN Voices from Orlando is a play comprised of collected stories, interviews and speeches from Orlando and across the Globe collected during the weeks and months following the Pulse Nightclub attack in Orlando. O-TOWN Voices was created and directed by David Karl Lee and features 18 local theater veterans, Barbara Poma—Pulse Nightclub Owner, Neema Bahrami—Pulse Survivor and the Orlando Gay Chorus.
Tickets and event details are available at: www.onepulsefoundation.org/events
 
Ringing of the Bells
First United Methodist Church—142 E. Jackson Street
Tuesday, June 12 / Noon
Join a public gathering for the ringing 49 bells. Multiple churches around the world have aligned for the ringing of the bells around the world.
 
Annual Remembrance Ceremony—A Public Community Gathering
Pulse Memorial –1912 S. Orange Avenue
Tuesday, June 12 / 7:00 p.m.
onePULSE Foundation is hosting a public ceremony to bring together Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and the community to honor the 49 angels, the survivors and the first responders in a public gathering at the Pulse Memorial.  Parking and accessibility information available at: www.onepulsefoundation.org
 
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
 
Acts of Love and Kindness from One Orlando Alliance
Tuesday, June 12
Acts of Love and Kindness is a movement grown out of the spirit of giving and good deeds witnessed in the aftermath of the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. The One Orlando Alliance — a coalition of more than 30 Orlando LGBTQ+ organizations — mobilizes this movement to inspire the Orlando community and beyond to engage in volunteerism, share stories and show support through acts of love and kindness. Those participating are encouraged to share their stories on social media using the hashtag: #ActLoveGive. A part of the Acts of Love and Kindness movement, on June 12, 2018, bells will toll 49 times in unison around the world as a tribute to the victims lost during the Pulse Nightclub tragedy through our 49 Bells initiative.
 
Prayer Ribbons Exhibition
Orlando City Hall Plaza – 400 S. Orange Ave
June 11-17, 2018
The community of Provincetown is pleased to bring back to our city this memorial strand of prayer ribbons as a token of solidarity and love with Pulse survivors, victim’s families and the whole community of Orlando. It will include 49 ribbons with the names of the lives taken at Pulse.
Prayer Ribbons website: https://thecompact.org/prayer-ribbons.html
 
Public Gallery Display—Another Year Passes: Orlando after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre
The Orange County History Center—62 E. Central Boulevard
Another Year Passes: Orlando after the Pulse Nightclub Massacre
Full exhibition will be on display from June 2 – October 14, 2018, with the crosses only being displayed during the week of June 12th. History Center Hours are Mon-Sat from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Free admission for the week of June 12 (June 10 – 16).
 
Sea to Sea Flag and Art Exhibit
Orange County Administration Office – 400 E. South St
June 12 – All Day
Section 93 represents a 25-foot section of the world’s largest 1.25-mile original 8-color LGBTQ rainbow flag that was constructed in 2003 in Key West, Florida. The Sea-to-Sea flag stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and required more than 2,000 people to carry it. It was created by Gilbert Baker, the original artist who created the iconic rainbow flag in 1978. Also known as “The Sacred Cloth,” it is a symbol of the worldwide LGBTQ movement for acceptance, understanding, education, solidarity, and inclusion.
The County will feature a small exhibit on the first floor atrium of the administration building – the banner of the 49 will by hung and Pulse-related artwork will be showcased.
 
Colonialtown Labyrinth
820 N. Ferncreek Avenue
Open from Sunup to Sundown
Meditation labyrinths are used as a path for healing.  Intentional walking in a quiet place on a set path allows for a level of focus and release.  The Colonialtown labyrinth had been planned, but the names of the Pulse victims and the fractured heart were added at the request of the Colonialtown neighborhood association.  The labyrinth was constructed with Capital Improvement Funds from Orlando District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan’s budget.
 
Inspiration Orlando United – Mural
801 East Washington Street / Exterior east wall of the historic Burton’s Bar and Grille
Artists Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash along with co-founder Chimene Hurst have led a collaborative team in the creation of this unique mural in response to the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016. It is a visual narrative showing how courageous acts of compassion revealed a heart of love and kindness in The City Beautiful.