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Pulse nightclub designated a national memorial by US Congress five years after shooting

Plans are underway for a permanent memorial at the site where 49 LGBTQ people and allies lost their lives in 2016.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Pulse shooting in Orlando (12 June), the site has been designated as a national memorial, as reported by Advocate.

A bill was unanimously passed through the US Senate on Wednesday (9 June) after being passed by the House of Representatives in May. It’s now expected President Biden, who’s an ally of the LGBTQ community, will sign it into law.

49 people were killed and more than 50 were injured in 2016 when a gunman opened fire at the nightclub.

“Absolutely the right thing to do”

At the time, the shooting was the worst in modern US history until 2017, when 58 people were killed in a shooting at a concert in Las Vegas. It remains the United States’ worst mass killing of LGBTQ people.

Speaking to Advocate the Democratic Senator, Alex Padilla, who sponsored the bill, said it was “absolutely the right thing to do, not just to honor the victims and families … but so many people who can relate to the experience”.

House Representative, Darren Soto told the publication: “As we approach five years since the Pulse nightclub shooting, the federal designation of the Pulse National Memorial is a deeply meaningful way to honor the lives that were taken that night”

The unanimous support was welcomed by Pulse Orlando on Twitter.

Currently, an interim memorial exists but the onePulse Foundation is in the process of sorting a permanent one. On its website, the Foundation says it will only move forward with plans after collecting information from the survivors and families of those who were lost.

Plans for the site to become a memorial were announced in 2017 by the nightclub’s owner and executive director of the onePulse Foundation, Barbara Poma. In February, Ricky Martin said he was partnering with the Foundation to help with the Memorial.

At the time, the ‘Livin La Vida Loca’ singer said, “I’m excited to assist onePULSE Foundation with engagement and awareness-building opportunities as they build the National Pulse Memorial & Museum.”