We are soon approaching the one year mark of one of the darkest days our city has ever experienced. The outpouring of love and support from around the world is something that none of us will ever forget. While I didn’t know any of the victims personally, I do know they were loved and continue to be loved. I have lived in Orlando for more than 20 years and am proud to be part of this community. For those of you in the area, there will be a special remembrance event on June 12th.
PULSE VICTIMS TO BE HONORED DURING 1-YEAR REMEMBRANCE EVENT IN ORLANDO
On Monday, June 12 at 7:00pm, the event “Orlando Love — Remembering Our Angels” will take place at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando to honor the lives of those taken during the Pulse Nightclub tragedy one year prior. The uplifting event, which is being produced with the assistance of Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan’s office, joins other events throughout the day as part of “Orlando United Day — a Day of Love and Kindness.”
“What happened at Pulse was the darkest day in our city’s history, and we continue to grieve for the victims and fight for those who are still suffering,” said Sheehan. “This June 12, our entire LGBTQ community and our allies need to stand together and continue to show that we are a strong, united city that responds with love.”
Throughout the evening the tribute will feature performances from Orlando-based groups and well-known artists on the amphitheater stage. Olga Tañón, a renowned Puerto Rican Grammy award-winning pop singer who has been described as the “Queen of Merengue” will join the DanceIt Dance Studio Ballroom Dancers to perform “Hallelujah.” Central Florida native Sisaundra Lewis, a semi-finalist in season 6 of NBC’s The Voice, will sing and dedicate her song “Applause” to those who were at Pulse.
The From Broadway With Love Choir returns to Orlando following their heart-stirring appearances at last year’s From Broadway To Orlando benefit concert and Come Out With Pride. Actors and actresses from a variety of Broadway productions will gather together to sing “What the Worlds Needs Now.”
Rounding out the tribute are performances by the Orlando Gay Chorus, violinist Jose Luis Navarro, The Venue’s Blue Star, actress Peg O’Keef, the CFCA Choral Group, the Orlando Firefighters Pipes and Drums and the Pipes and Drums of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. The program — to be emceed by WFTV anchors Jorge Estevez and Nancy Alvarez — will include brief introductory remarks by Commissioner Sheehan as well as First Baptist Orlando Pastor Israel Martin, Orlando City Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Pulse Nightclub owner Barbara Poma.
Beyond the events taking place on stage, attendees will have the opportunity to view artwork related to Pulse at the Washington Square Plaza section of Lake Eola park. Artists including Michael Pilato, designer of numerous murals around the city, will be available to discuss their works.
In connection with the homegrown movement “Acts of Love and Kindness” which inspires and encourages participants to take action in the community, a volunteer fair will help unite over 20 local LGBTQ+ organizations with prospective volunteers. Beginning at 5:00pm attendees can visit the area located just north of Washington Square Plaza to learn about various opportunities and important ways to lend assistance.
Finally, the Orlando Angel Force — a group comprising 49 individuals bearing angel wings — will have a presence throughout the event. The Angel Force is organized by the GLBT Center of Central Florida and has been a symbol of hope and compassion during numerous events and gatherings throughout Orlando.
Orlando Love — Remembering Our Angels is being produced by local volunteers and is supported entirely through donations.