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Remembering Pulse With onePULSE Foundation

BY: Trevor News
Group candlelight vigil

Content Warning: Anti-LGBTQ Violence

Today, June 12, marks the seventh year since the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 49 people lost their lives that night, 68 were injured, and countless first responders and healthcare professionals were there and attending to them. The impact of this tragedy was felt by many, but for the Latinx community, LGBTQ people, and the Florida and Orlando community, the loss and shock was incalculable. I was 18 at the time, all the way in Illinois, and hearing the news, I cried reading the names of people whose names were just like mine and my family’s. It felt particularly abhorrent that this happened at a Latin Night, during Pride, at a club, a place meant to be liberating and joyful and safe.

“In the face of adversity, both in Florida and beyond, we are seeing the need to cultivate strength from and for the LGBTQIA+ community,” shared Sam Buoye, Digital Marketing & Advancement Specialist at onePULSE Foundation in Orlando. “We are reminded that there is strength in numbers. We are inspired by the strength of the Pulse survivors, family members, and first responders, who have overcome so much. We recognize the strength it takes to continue to stand up for what is right, when the world seems intent on doing the opposite.”

Founded in the wake of the events at Pulse nightclub, onePULSE foundation honors the lives of the 49 victims and all who were impacted by the tragedy. Working with the families and loved ones of the 49, onePULSE Foundation established the 49 Legacy Scholarships based on the respective victims’ interests, careers or aspirations. The 49 Legacy Scholarships are available from everything to nursing to cosmetology, and includes a scholarship restricted to members of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

onePULSE also operates the onePULSE Academy, educational programming that  aims to promote acceptance, inclusion, and remembrance. Additionally, onePULSE is working to construct the National Pulse Memorial and Museum, which will preserve the memories of those lost; and  the construction of the Orlando Health Survivor’s Walk, a three-block outdoor interpretive museum on the actual route first responders took to rescue and treat people injured at the nightclub.

“We know these communities are also in need of strength to continue on in the wake of incredible loss. We stand with these communities, with the Pulse-affected community, and all those members of the global LGBTQIA+ community.”

“Affirming and supportive communities have a deep positive impact on young people,” shared Sam. “They allow them to grow up without the deep self-loathing that comes from rejection. They act as a buffer for suicide ideation and create a lifeline for our youth who struggle with mental health issues. They allow our youth to understand their identity in a space that welcomes their questions and guides them through the difficult experience of self-discovery. In short, the impact affirming and supportive communities have of LGBTQIA+ young people is the difference between life and death.”

To LGBTQ young people, Sam says: “You are seen, you are valid, and you are loved. You are part of a community with a history of resilience. As the next generation of the LGBTQIA+ community, it is your responsibility to continue to fight for what is right. Our promise at onePULSE Foundation is ‘We will not let hate win.’ We hope you will join us in that promise.”

I recently joined some friends at a Latin night at a popular queer bar in Chicago, Berlin. It was Cinco de Mayo, and they were hosting a show dedicated to Latinx and lesbian/sapphic drag artists. Performers lip-synched to Selena, and dressed as revolutionary Catrinas, and made horchata on stage. It is not lost on me how important these kinds of spaces are to queer people, and how much they mean to everyone in those rooms. In a country that actively seeks to silence and harm LGBTQ people, queer joy and community has become all the more life-sustaining. LGBTQ young people, and all LGBTQ folks, deserve these spaces. We all deserve to be safe.

*onePULSE will be livestreaming a Pulse Remembrance Ceremony from 7-8 p.m. EST today, June 12, on their Facebook page.

Sue Cardenas-Soto is a Copywriter at The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat, or by texting START to 678-678.

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