Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate voted unanimously on June 10, to designate the Pulse nightclub a national landmark. In 2016, a gunman entered Pulse shortly after midnight on June 12 and began shooting patrons. By the time the three-hour standoff was over, 49 people were dead and another 53 were injured.

The legislation naming Pulse a national memorial was sponsored by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and passed unanimously. The companion bill passed the U.S. House on May 12. Scott was governor of Florida at the time of the shootings and visited hospitals and attended funerals. He called it one of the hardest things he ever had to do. Florida’s other senator, Marco Rubio, was a co-sponsor of the bill.

Andres Acosta, the community relations manager of the Contigo Fund, the first and only LGBTQ+ Latinx fund in the United States and largest LGBTQ+ participatory grantmaking organization distinctly supporting LGBTQ+ communities of color in the US South, asks what is the legacy of the worst attack in recent history on the LGBTQ+ community? He says that on this fifth anniversary, Orlando is asking itself good questions: How have we changed in five years? What is the legacy of Pulse? How do we keep that legacy alive? The massacre at Pulse changed our community in very visible ways. Our amphitheater downtown is painted in the colors of the rainbow. Orlando City Hall flies the Progress Pride flag during the month of June. The Orlando City Soccer Stadium has 49 rainbow-colored seats. There are countless murals commemorating Pulse. The Orlando community rallied around and embraced our LGBTQ+ community with open arms and open hearts. We became a shining beacon of acceptance in the US South. This year, as we gather to continue our healing process, let’s remember that the legacy of Pulse is not in tragedy. So, as the five-year mark gets closer, it’s up to all of us to commit to supporting the people and organizations that still fight to keep the legacy alive. Let’s keep healing, let’s keep learning, let’s raise each other up, and above all, let’s stand united. (Seattle Gay News – Andres Acosta at http://sgn.org/sgnnews49_24/page2.cfm & Dallas Voice – David Taffet at https://dallasvoice.com/senate-designates-pulse-a-national-landmark/)

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