ORLANDO – A little more than a year after a devastating shooting massacre at a gay nightclub claimed the lives of 49 people, the City of Orlando and Orange County Government will organize a special event to bring the community together in remembrance of the victims.
Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness will begin with a dedication ceremony on Monday, June 12 at the Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando. This event, which the city and county governments are doing in collaboration with Pulse, the nightclub that was the scene of the deadly shooting, will start with a formal dedication to the memory and honor of the 49 innocent lives taken at Pulse.
There will also be a strong spiritual element to the day’s events.
The office of Mayor Buddy Dyer also noted that this event “reaffirms the community’s commitment to survivors and loved ones, as well as recognizes the global compassion and love displayed in the wake of the tragedy.”
On June 12 2016, a 29-year-old security guard from South Florida, Omar Mateen, went to Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando’s Sodo neighborhood, and shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. Mateen was shot and killed by Orlando Police Department officers after a three-hour standoff.
This terrorist attack became the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest case of violence against the gay community.
In recognition of the victims, and to honor the survivors, numerous community events and activities will take place on June 12, 2017.
As part of this, the city has launched the One Orlando Alliance website with a list of acts of love and kindness for the local community, and Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs are encouraging residents and businesses to take part in a day of Acts of Love and Kindness that serve as a way to unite the entire community.
The activities begin at 10 a.m. when the Orange County Regional History Center unveils the
Expanded One Orlando Collection and Digital Gallery, featuring images of individual items collected at numerous Pulse memorial sites that were created in the days and weeks after the tragedy.
Curated pieces from the One Orlando Collection will include community artwork and international support the city received following the tragedy.
Admission to the History Center, 65 E. Central Boulevard, will be free for this day.
At 10:30 a.m., the Orange County Administration Center will unveil the Sea-to-Sea Flag that was originally displayed there on June 17, 2016 in tribute to the lives taken at Pulse and in support of freedom lovers worldwide.
Also known as “The Sacred Cloth,” this flag has become a globally recognized symbol of the LGBTQ movement, symbolizing acceptance, understanding, education, solidarity and inclusion.
Pulse Nightclub will be open on June 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Reflections and Remembrance, where the community is invited to visit Pulse Nightclub to honor the legacies of the 49 victims, their families and the survivors. There will be a ceremony featuring community speakers, reflective prayers, a reading of the 49 names, a display of 49 wreaths and music by Violectric.
The Inspiration Orlando mural, our Angel Force, Hang-a-Heart, Stars of Hope and comfort dogs will be present.
At 7 p.m., Lake Eola Park Amphitheater will be the scene for Orlando Love: Remembering Our Angels, a one-year remembrance ceremony that will include remarks by community leaders, musical performances by Olga Tañón and Sisaundra Lewis, and a memorial reading of the 49 names.
It includes at 10 p.m. at Pulse Nightclub with Moments of Hope and Healing, a series of prayers, live music, inspirational dance and reflection.
Conclusion: The city of Orlando and Orange County Government are remembering the victims of the Pulse shooting massacre on June 12, with a full day of events in their honor.
Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright and author of the book “Koby’s New Home”. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.