Seven Years After Tragic Pulse Nightclub Attack, a Community Promises Never to Forget

Seven Years After Tragic Pulse Nightclub Attack, a Community Promises Never to Forget

Image via AP

By Giselle Balido

June 12, 2023

This year, the annual commemoration of the 49 lives lost will be held Monday evening at the Doctor Phillips’ Center’s Steinmetz Hall, with performances and special remarks from the families of victims and survivors.

Today marks the 7th anniversary of the deadly shooting at Pulse nightclub in downtown Orlando, when a gunman shot and killed 49 people and injured 53 others during LGBTQ Pride month. 

At the time, June 12, 2016, the mass shooting was the worst in modern U.S. history, leaving 49 dead and 68 seriously injured. 

“There are always the memories of that moment where your life changed,” Ricardo Negrón-Almodóvar, a survivor of the Pulse tragedy, told Floricua. “You were dancing, enjoying yourself, and suddenly you hear shots and screams, and you fear for your life. You will never forget that.”

It is this pain, this inability to forget, that often rouses survivors like Negrón-Almodóvar, Florida state manager of All Voting Is Local, to become passionate advocates for gun safety laws needed in the state. 

Negrón’s way of dealing with the trauma of the experience was to dedicate all of his life’s efforts to prevent an incident like that from ever happening again. He co-founded Del Ambiente, a community initiative dedicated to holistically assisting members within LGBTQ communities, strengthening leadership, and providing information.

“We realized that mostly Boricuas were affected by the Pulse incident. Among the organizations providing help to victims, none of them were specifically geared toward helping the Puerto Rican LGBTQ communities,” Negrón said.

A Promise to Remember

Last year, many gathered photos, notes, messages, and tributes to post at the interim memorial outside of Pulse nightclub. 

This year, the annual commemoration of the 49 lives lost at Pulse will be held indoors from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday evening at the Doctor Phillips’ Center’s Steinmetz Hall. 

The observance will feature performances and special remarks from the families of victims and survivors in addition to a reading of the names of the 49 people killed in the shooting along with a moment of silence. 

RELATED: Una Dura Realidad: Gun Violence Disproportionally Affects Black and Latino Communities. Here’s What Needs to Be Done.

“We need to continue to have an event to honor the lives and memory of those that are lost,” said Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, whose district includes Pulse.

“The first year it was done […] when [the victims] names were read aloud, people would stand up and cheer. That took me aback, but then I got to thinking, this is the wedding or the high school graduation ceremony that they’re never going to have. Remembering them is a way to honor their lives that were taken away too young.”

The event is free and open to the public. Guests must go to the Dr. Phillips website to reserve a ticket. 

Before the event a church bell will ring 49 times at the First United Methodist Church of Orlando at 4 p.m. This follows the yearly tradition of joining churches around the globe as they toll their bells in honor of the victims.

https://theamericanonews.com/floricua/newsletter/

Author

  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.

CATEGORIES: POLITICS
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