On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, Florida representatives from the Democratic Party Darren Soto, Val Demings, and Stephanie Murphy brought a bill to congress endeavouring to designate Pulse Nightclub as a national memorial. On June 12, 2016, 49 innocent party-goers were killed and 53 injured in a mass shooting at Orlando’s LGBTQ+ Pulse Nightclub. The incident cited by Barrack Obama as an “act of terror and an act of hate” left LGBTQ+ communities everywhere reeling.
In a moving statement, Val Demings encouraged members of Congress to put their support behind this bill.
“‘Orlando Strong’ is more than just a slogan, it is a promise to support each other and to never forget those we lost and those who were injured on that tragic night,” she stated, referencing a widely-used hashtag.
“By establishing Pulse as a national memorial, we will honour their memories and remind ourselves of that promise.
“My bishop once called the Pulse nightclub a place for late-night fellowship, a place for fun, laughter, family, and friendship. These are such fundamental things – we know this now more than ever after the pandemic. We see just how precious these things truly are,” Demings said.
Daren Soto also addressed the congress “Nearly five years ago, 49 angels lost their lives and many others, 53, were injured, when a deranged gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“This horrific act of hate and terror against our LGBTQ and Latino community and African community and Anglo community could have divided us, but we came together stronger than ever before. Orlando swore as a community to never forget those we lost that night. ”
The bill passed the US House of Representatives on Wednesday and will now move to the U.S. Senate. If the bill passes in the Senate, the site will be designated a protected site and allow for a memorial to honour the 49 killed and 53 injured on June 12, 2016, as well as the first responders and citizens present that night.
A previous Senate bill that aimed to designate Pulse Nightclub as a memorial was unsuccessful due to a lack of support from Florida senators once the bill left the house of Representatives. Florida Politics reports that Republican Rick Scott aims to bring a Senate Version of the bill forward in the coming days.
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