Biden designates Pulse Nightclub as a national memorial
President Joe Biden has designated a national memorial the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida to honor the 49 people who were killed there in a 2016 mass shooting.
Signing the HR 49 legislation that establishes Florida’s National Pulse Memorial, Biden was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden and the survivors of the Orlando shooting.
Also present at the signing were the lawmakers that helped to pass the measure, as well as LGBTQ politicians and activists.
Pulse nightclub: No president to sign a monument like this
Urging Congress to pass laws that would protect the civil rights of LGBTQ people, Biden declared, “May no president ever have to sign another monument like this.”
“A place of acceptance and joy became a place of unspeakable pain and loss. We’ll never fully recover but we’ll remember,” he said.
Behind Biden and those who attended the signing, two video screens showed the pictures of the 49 people who were killed at Pulse.
The President likewise thanked the lawmakers that passed the measure “to make sure this isn’t forgotten.”
However, he also called on Congress to pass the Equality Act to expand protections under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for the LGBTQ community.
Setting up the Pulse nightclub as a national monument
The legislation to designate the nightclub was pushed by the onePulse Foundation, a nonprofit founded after the 2016 massacre.
In a statement, the foundation said: “Today is a major milestone in fulfilling the mission of the National Pulse Memorial & Museum.”
The organization thanked Biden and the members of both houses of Congress for introducing and passing the bills.
They said this monument is “a clear and lasting message to the LGBTQ+ community that what happened at Pulse matters and will never be forgotten for future generations, and that we will always outlove hate.”
There are plans for a reflecting pool, an open-air museum, and an education center with gardens and a public plaza to be set up at the site.
The tragedy that shook the LGBTQ community six years ago
In June 2016, Biden was still the vice-president when a 29-year old man used an AR-15-style assault rifle to kill 49 people and wounded 53 more in the nightclub mass shooting.
After the signing, Biden pointed out that half of US states do not have specific protections for LGBTQ Americans and their families: “We must protect the gains we’ve made.”
He said those killed were “family members, parents, friends, veterans, students, young, Black, Asian, Latino– all fellow Americans.”
He further said the number of state statutes targeting transgender rights that recently passed were “some of the ugliest, most un-American laws I’ve seen.”
The new monument will join other LGBTQ memorials: the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco and New York City’s Stonewall Inn.