'Your voice matters,' OnePULSE survey asks for memorial input

Town hall scheduled for Oct. 9

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist
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The City Beautiful remembers the victims of the Pulse tragedy on Orlando United Day.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - People from around the world were able to start providing their input this week as to what a permanent memorial to the Pulse shooting victims could eventually look like.

The OnePULSE Foundation opened an online survey in August to the 49 victims' families, survivors and first responders, but now the form is open to all, foundation spokeswoman Sara Brady said in a news release.

The online survey takes a few minutes to complete at onePULSEfoundation.org. Anyone can take the survey until Oct. 31. The survey includes questions about features that the community may like to see at the future memorial site.

Some of the questions ask the survey taker how important it is to them that the memorial surve as a gathering space to celebrate love and life or if it should be more of a place for reflection.

It also asks if the memorial should be a place for the discussion of social topics, including LGBTQ+ and cultural identity issues. The shooting happened on Latin night at Orlando’s most popular gay nightclub.

“The tragedy that occurred at Pulse nightclub impacted this community and it’s important that the community be involved in determining what the memorial ends up looking like,” said Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse nightclub and executive director of the onePULSE Foundation. “So far, the response to the survey had been significant and we are looking forward to hearing from the rest of Central Florida and others from around the world.”

Poma said in May that she wants to turn the site of the deadly mass shooting into a memorial and museum. She said the OnePULSE Foundation hopes to open the memorial in 2020.

In addition to the online survey, the foundation will host a series of town hall-style forums with a panel of experts to help keep the public informed on the process. The first town hall meeting was rescheduled for Oct. 9 because of Hurricane Irma.

The OnePULSE Foundation selected a small handful of people to help develop ideas for the memorial, including those involved with the Oklahoma City and Sept. 11 memorials.

Poma traveled to Oklahoma City to visit the impactful memorial built after the Federal Building bombing. Earlier this summer, News 6 spoke with the directors of that memorial and toured the site to see what similarities it could have with the future Pulse memorial.

Orange County Regional History Center chief curator Pamela Schwarts, who has helped preserve many of the artifacts left at Pulse and around the city,  was also selected for the committee.

The forum starts at 6 p.m. and will be at the Orlando Repertory Theater at 1001 E. Princeton St. Anyone can attend, but seating is limited and tickets must be reserved online here.

The first town hall will be moderated by Boston Globe journalist and political columnist Indira Lakshmanan.

Orlando commemorated the first year after the June 16, 2016 tragedy earlier this summer with rolling memorial events on "Orlando United Day." Thousands attended events around the city and at the nightclub.

 

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