This Website use Cookies OK

Read more U.S. News

Florida lawmakers want to turn the Pulse nightclub into a national memorial


Barbara Poma, CEO of the onePULSE Foundation, in front of the Pulse Interim Memorial located at the Pulse nightclub site south of downtown Orlando, Thursday, June 6, 2019. June 12 marks the 3rd anniversary of the mass shooting that left 49 club patrons dead. (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel)

Two U.S. Representatives from Central Florida want the Pulse nightclub to become a federal landmark to honor the 49 victims in one of the deadliest anti-LGBTQ attacks in U.S. history.

On Monday, Democratic Reps. Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy announced a bill to classify the Pulse Interim Memorial, now located at the former site of the downtown Orlando club, as part of the National Park System (NPS).

Wednesday, June 12, will mark three years since one of the worst mass shootings in modern U.S. history, at the gay nightclub co-founded by Barbara Poma in 2004.

In the early hours of June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire during the club’s popular Latin-themed night, killing 49 people and injuring more than 50. He claimed allegiance to ISIS.

If the bill passes, the memorial will be part of the NPS, but still allow local the nonprofit OnePulse Foundation to control its construction.

OnePulse is a a nonprofit organization where Poma serves as the CEO.

“This will give this hallowed ground the federal recognition it deserves, especially for those who lost everything.” Soto said in a press conference.

He plans to pass the legislation by June 2020.

WATCH LIVE: Officials asking to declare Pulse a national memorial

WATCH LIVE: Officials are hosting a press conference proposing a bill that would declare the site of Pulse a national memorial. READ MORE:

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Monday, June 10, 2019

Barbara Poma said the designation will also help the memorial receive federal funding.

“We’ve had generous donations from people who just understand the process to begin with, but then you have people who want to actually see something,” she said. “Starting in October, once the design concept has been unveiled, that will be different.”

The foundation has raised $14 million of its $45 million goal for construction. A memorial and museum is scheduled to break ground in 2021 and open in 2022.

“This is an important step to preserve an LGBT historic landmark at a time when many of these sites are being destroyed,” Soto said. “The memorial will serve as a reminder of the remarkable way our community came together to heal and overcome hate.”

Related Gallery
Remembering the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando

Poma opened the club memory of her older brother, John, who had died after a long battle with AIDS in 1991.