Barbara Poma Discusses Pulse Permanent Memorial Plans
June 12th, 2021 marks five years since the Pulse nightclub shooting and the community is gathering together to honor those affected by the tragedy. Later this year, construction will begin for the first part of a permanent memorial - a Survivor’s Walk that will lead from Pulse to the Orlando Regional Medical Center.
WMFE’s Amy Green spoke with Barbara Poma of the onePULSE Foundation about the project and what’s next for the National Pulse Memorial & Museum.
Poma says that it’s important for the Survivor’s Walk to convey the journey that survivors experience every day since the shooting.
The walk is just one of the many steps the team hopes to achieve in the long-term memorial and museum project, which was slowed down by the pandemic. They plan to implement different elements including a garden, for the community to find reflection.
“The space is important to everyone. It was to give respect to what happened there and in respect to the 49 who lost their lives and every survivor who has to return there.”
Poma says she hopes the museum will be a place of education, history, and change.
“When they visit the museum, we want them to go home with a much greater insight into why Pulse was important, and not just this Pulse but the Pulse of every city around the globe.”
[caption id="attachment_97155" align="alignleft" width="400"]
The temporary memorial at the site of the Pulse Nightclub. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE[/caption]
While construction for the permanent memorial is still in progress, the temporary memorial will remain for people to visit. Poma says while she sometimes finds it difficult to visit the site, the people that she meets there always are looking to learn and share stories.
“I love seeing families bringing their children,” Poma says. “It's just so impactful to for them to want to know the story and every time I see that an experience and I hear those stories, it just kind of fills my heart back up in a way that makes me be able to continue to do the work, because it's not easy for those of us here at the foundation who do this work every single day.”
As the five-year mark of Pulse approaches, Poma says she focuses on the survivors, families, and the first responders.
“Everything we do here is for them and for that day. And I know we serve our community and in our nation.”
[caption id="attachment_182597" align="aligncenter" width="742"]
Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma in 2017. Photo: Amy Green, WMFE[/caption]