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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Annual Orlando Pulse remembrance ceremony to be held virtually for the first time

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2020 at 8:08 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ONEPULSE FOUNDATION
  • Photo via OnePulse Foundation

On June 12, 2016, 49 people were killed at the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. Since then, the onePULSE Foundation has held an annual remembrance ceremony to honor all 49 victims at the Pulse Interim Memorial, and this year's ceremony will be held virtually at 7 p.m. Friday, June 12. 

In a onePULSE Foundation news release, CEO Barbara Poma says that plans for the virtual ceremony have not yet been completely solidified and that the foundation does "not make these decisions lightly ... [and] ... will always prioritize the health and safety of the public, the Pulse community, and our employees." 

However, Scott Bowman, communications chief at onePULSE, clarified that the ceremony has been prerecorded and it will be shown on onePULSE's Facebook and YouTube channels. Speakers include Poma, board chair Earl Crittenden, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and surviving family members who will read the 49 names.

As the ceremony is prerecorded and will not be in a livestream format, those watching will not be able to communicate with each other in real time, but comments may be left on both the YouTube and Facebook video. Bowman also said that onePULSE has "encouraged people to share their memories [and] their remembrances on social media with the hashtag '#WeWillNotLetHateWin.'"

There has been one clear challenge that Bowman identified with moving the ceremony online: "I think the biggest hardship was ... not being able to have everyone together at once." Nevertheless, Bowman said that the goals for the ceremony "are the same" and onePULSE wants "everyone to be able to come together and remember and honor." Bowman says that onePULSE has made a virtual tour of the memorial available "so the people who want to remember that way can do that as well."

Mayor Dyer says that although the ceremony will not allow for the families and friends of the 49, along with Pulse survivors, to gather in person, "we appreciate onePULSE creating a way for our community to be able to come together in a different manner to heal and honor our 49 Angels."

As a plan further develops for the 2020 Annual Remembrance Ceremony, such plans will be communicated to family members, survivors and first responders and will be shared on the onePULSE website and social media.

The Fourth Annual CommUNITY Rainbow Run, which was originally scheduled for June 6, has also been rescheduled to Sept. 12 at Wadeview Park.

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