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Louisville plays role in creating Pulse nightclub memorial

One Louisville company is leading the fundraising campaign for the onePulse Foundation to build...
One Louisville company is leading the fundraising campaign for the onePulse Foundation to build a permanent memorial and museum.(onePulse Foundation)
Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 11:34 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2021 at 6:40 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It was one of the worst mass shootings in our country. More than five years ago, a gunman killed dozens of people and wounded many in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Now, Louisville is playing a big role in making sure the lives that were lost will not be forgotten.

On June 12, 2016, a gunman, killed 49 people and wounded 53 more in a mass shooting at Pulse nightclub.

Vigils happened across the country for the lives lost, including here in Louisville. The love and support was felt by Pulse nightclub’s owner Barbara Poma.

Poma made a stop in Louisville this weekend as part of a fundraising campaign for the Pulse Memorial and Museum.

“It will be a learning center and education center where you not just learn about what happened on June 12th, but really why June 12th really affected an entire world,” Poma said. “Our shooting is one of many shootings, sadly, that happen in our country every single day. And people ask us all the time why was Pulse different, and Pulse is different because it resonated with a community that has been marginalized their entire lives. Not just in Orlando or here in Louisville, but all around the world.”

Poma said the memorial will sit on the Pulse nightclub property to honor those lives lost and those who survived. On the fifth anniversary of the massacre, President Biden declared the site will be a national memorial and museum.

“One element of the project is what we call our ‘Survivors Walkway’ that leads you to the Pulse nightclub down Orange Avenue three blocks to the level one trauma center,” Poma said. “If that trauma center had not been so close, that number of 49 [killed] would have been much higher.”

Louisville company J.P. Davis Partners is leading the fundraising campaign for the onePulse Foundation to build the permanent memorial and museum.

“We are meeting with companies, we are meeting with donors, with LGBTQ leaders raising money and also raising a powerful message we never want that to ever happen again,” Davis said.

For Davis, the project is personal.

“When you identify as LGBTQ, you have understand that gay nightclubs are bigger than nightclubs,” Davis said. “We use the term family a lot in our culture and it’s because nightclubs to us are refuge, it’s a safe place. It’s a safe place where we can be ourselves and grow learn and become. When that incident happened it almost felt like an attack on our own our family, and frankly it could have been anyone of us.”

Out of tragedy, there are stories of hope, compassion, and courage. The big message, you can out-love hate. To find out more on the project and how you can help, click or tap here.

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