‘We are not alone:’ New exhibits showcase love, support for Pulse survivors, victims

Sunday, June 12, marks 6 years since tragedy

Exhibits are popping up in the City Beautiful to memorialize the survivors and 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Exhibits are popping up in the City Beautiful to memorialize the survivors and 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in 2016.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer along with other city leaders welcomed the Prayer Ribbon Memorial on Friday.

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Dyer began with a moment of silence, followed by a singing performance by the curator of the exhibit.

That curator, Jay Critchley, is the founder and director of The Compact, an outreach nonprofit out of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

He’s the one who brought 3,000 of the prayer ribbons to show Orlando it’s not alone.

It will be 6 years ago this weekend when 49 people lost their lives in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting. The names of the victims can found on the black ribbons, displayed along with messages from the people of Massachusetts.

“The ribbons dance in the wind and I think the angels are still dancing the night away,” Critchley said.

City leaders said this is a time to not only reflect, but to call for change.

“It’s about time we started resolving our differences through kindness and understanding rather than hatred and guns, so in honor of the 49, I say let’s take action and let’s honor them with love,” Commissioner Patty Sheehan said.

The prayer ribbon memorial was not the only new display of solidarity Friday for those impacted by the Pulse tragedy.

At the Orange County Regional History Center are the 49 crosses that were originally on display after the shooting in 2016, returned to public view to honor those who lost their lives. Each cross, according to the history center, represents one soul taken away. The history center preserved each message and signature on the crosses, hoping the display will shine a light of support born out of grief.

“I think this is became something people remember from that time, so people will be able to come kind of see those as they were in 2016,” said Jeremy Hileman, the One Orlando registrar.

Back at the prayer ribbon memorial, visitor Chelsey Barker said while the exhibit brings back emotions from that horrible night, it’s comforting knowing Orlando does not stand alone.

“We will not let these people be forgotten because we are all so intrinsically connected whether or not we know it (...) we are not alone, by any means,” Barker said.

The crosses will be on display until Sunday, June 12, while the prayer ribbons will be displayed until June 17.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.