50 years in 50 weeks: 2016: Pulse tragedy

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday February 16, 2022
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Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive
Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive

It was a sunny day in the Bay Area on Sunday, June 12, 2016 when news broke that there was a terrible mass shooting inside Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Within hours, spontaneous vigils were held in San Francisco, Oakland, and numerous other cities to mourn the loss of 49 mostly gay Latino lives and the 53 others who were injured. The shooting happened during the club's popular Latin Night, and the assailant, Omar Mateen, who was killed in a shootout with police, held people captive for hours. Happening during June, many LGBTQ Pride organizations beefed up security at their own festivals and events, as it was unclear whether the attack was homophobic, domestic terrorism, or a combination of the two. Two years later, Mateen's widow, Noor Salman, was tried and acquitted on obstruction charges related to the shooting. Today, Barbara Poma, a straight ally who owns Pulse, has established the OnePULSE Foundation to honor the victims and survivors. An interim memorial is at the site of the former nightclub as the foundation moves forward with plans for a permanent remembrance for those killed.

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