Florida representatives have announced a plan to make the site of Pulse, a gay nightclub that was the victim of a hate-fueled mass shooting that killed 49 people, a national memorial, reported CNN.
U.S. Reps. Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy announced their plan on Monday (June 10), two days before the third anniversary of the shooting. The representatives hope that by designating Pulse a federal landmark, it will honor the victims of the deadliest act of violence against LGBTQ people in American history.
“This will give this hallowed ground the federal recognition it deserves, especially for those who lost everything,” Soto said at a service in front of the temporary memorial.
If passed, the bill would classify the now-temporary memorial as part of the National Park System, but would allow local nonprofit OnePulse Foundation to retain control of the construction. Soto said he plans to pass the bill by June of next year.
“This is an important step to preserve an LGBTQ historic landmark at a time when many of these sites are being destroyed,” Soto said. “The memorial will serve as a reminder of the remarkable way our community came together to heal and overcome hate.”
Club co-owner and OnePulse Foundation CEO Barbara Poma opened the temporary memorial at the club in May 2018 but hopes to start building a permanent site by 2021. Her foundation has already raised $14 million of their $45 million goal for constructing the site, but if the club is named a national memorial, her project would be eligible for federal and private funding.