The Problems

What's the problem? There are many. 

1. The Commodification of Orlando's Mass Shooting

2. Turning Orlando's Mass Shooting Into A Tourist Attraction 

3. Conflicts of Interest

4. Bias and Misleading Information

5. Lack of Full Transparency and Accountability

7. Survivor Harassment

8. Other Issues

Click on any of the above links to access more information on each of these issues.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

We firmly renounce putting any price tag on the deaths of our loved ones. The intention to commodify gay death is evidenced in Barbara Poma's egregious $100k+ salary, the anticipated price for museum admission, and in the sale of OnePulse Foundation merchandise through their on-line gift shop and a physical on-site retail kiosk.

 

By not selling the nightclub property to the City of Orlando, setting up the non-profit in the aftermath of the shooting, appointing herself CEO, forming a corporate Board of Trustees, and accepting a $100k+ salary, Barbara Poma has found a way to continue making money off her LGBTQ+ patrons—even in their death and even without a business. What's worse, is that she is applauded for it, thrown millions of dollars, and has the backing of many in the community who do not see past her rhetoric of love and compassion.

 

What's more, with the OnePulse Foundation has accepted $10M of taxpayer funds from Orange County, Barbara Poma's $100k+ payment for running the organization that she created shows how public dollars get shuffled into private pockets through the non-profit industrial complex.  

Many people were not aware of the gift kiosk because it is not pictured in the OnePulse Foundation's marketing photography and it is not visible from the street. The kiosk is located in the back of the building, near where the police breached the nightclub. The retail kiosk is also not pictured in the OnePulse Foundation's design brief either (see page 12). This is a significant omission. 

 

We WILL NEVER CONSENT to any effort to generate revenue from Pulse “memorabilia” for any purpose, whether that be construction costs or an individual's financial gain. Forcing us to continue to watch this happen, regardless of our public outcry and especially in the name of a museum that we do not want, is painful and disrespectful. Any attempts to justify monetizing the mass shooting and suggesting that consumer demand or project costs justify this practice reflects a complete disregard for our feelings and wishes. Continuing to sell Pulse merchandise even when confronted shows us that the OnePulse Foundation is disingenuous and will do whatever it wants. The quest to make money is more important than we are. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We reject that OnePulse Foundation has the right to go against our wishes and place price tags on our grief—in any capacity. We also reject that any memorial should be used to bring revenue to the city (see tourism section below).

We also see Hollywood fundraisers or any other extravagant events for the purposes of raising money for a museum and enhancing the OnePulse Foundation's public profile is insensitive and disrespectful to survivors who continue to struggle in numerous aspects of their daily lives. Notoriety should not be an outcome of a donation of time, money, or services rendered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Surely, we are not against people getting paid to do the hard work of that social justice projects require. However, we do not believe that the museum represents social justice when it diverts money away from survivors. Furthermore, there are ethical limits to financial numeration and context matters. No self-appointed leader should profit from a mass shooting and efforts to memorialize those taken, even if that leader set up their own non-profit. We have documented examples of how other cities have built beautiful memorials without any compensation or financial enumeration. The City of Orlando can do the same. We can build a memorial with the utmost integrity.

Pulse's privatized memorial space also presents another problem for public mourning: personal liability makes strict policing and surveillance a priority of ownership. This is a significant concern for the minority communities that been affected. LGBTQ+, Black, and Latinx communities, in particular, have not only experienced long histories of discriminatory policing practices, but they continue to struggle against oppressive systems of surveillance and acts of police violence. Local LGBTQ+ people of color have already publicly voiced their concerns about increased policing in the wake of the shooting. Yet still, unnecessary policing practices and private security forces are currently being used at the interim memorial and best serve private interests. Armed security guards police photography, access, and behavior, as noted here and posted on signs outside the memorial:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The policing of photography and conduct through private security forces is unusual in public memorial settings. It is also an injustice. Hiring a private security force to police queer memorial space reproduces the violence that grassroots activists have been fighting against for decades. Let us never forget that the shooter worked for a private security firm and let Barbara Poma be sensitive to this fact.

 

For these reasons, the presence of armed security guards threatens to intimidate and retraumatize visitors. The presence of armed security at the interim memorial reflects the OnePulse Foundation's general lack of understanding of the issues facing our diverse communities. Considering who the leadership team is, we are not surprised.

Under these conditions, we ask, is a sanctuary for all even possible on the grounds of the Pulse nightclub so long as it remains privately owned? 

Lastly, the policing of commercial photography and claiming the exclusive rights to photographs taken on the private property substantiates our criticism that the OnePulse Foundation actively seeks to monetize the site of Orlando's mass shooting and our collective grief. With photographs of the memorial being used to market the involvement of private businesses owned by people on their leadership teams, clearly, the aim to police photography is not to quash "commercial exploitation," but rather to make the OnePulse Foundation the sole proprietor of media generated from the property. This also shows that the OnePulse Foundation's Marketing and Communications department has sought to control what is communicated to the public through visual media. In case the company takes the image down on their website, we have included a screenshot below, so readers can see that images of the interim memorial are being used for commercial exploitation at the approval of the OnePulse Foundation:

 
 
 
 

Any museum or memorial to be is built on the privately-owned property is unacceptable. The Pulse massacre was a tragic public event that rocked our community, the City of Orlando, and the conscience of the nation. As such, it cannot be confined to the limits of property lines, nor should any one property-holder determine the fate of public memory.

Questions we want answers to:

 

1. Will the OnePulse Foundation respect our wishes and our grief and stop selling merchandise associated with the mass shooting—both on the grounds of the interim memorial and online?

 

2. Will the OnePulse Foundation require all business partners and donors to sign agreements that their involvement in the project can not be used to market their business?

 

3. Will Barbara Poma issue a public apology for the hurt, pain, and trauma that these leadership decisions have inflicted upon our community, rather than keep defending these decisions and refusing to change?

4. Will Barbara Poma acknowledge these decisions as failures of responsible leadership and resign as CEO of the OnePulse Foundation?  

2. Conflicts of Interest

Barbara Poma has had two main conflicts of interest as CEO of the OnePulse Foundation: (1) her ownership of the Pulse nightclub property, which she declined to sell to the City of Orlando for $2.25M (a more than fair price substantially higher than the property's assessed value); and (2) an ongoing negligence lawsuit with survivors and victim's family members. 

The first—maintaining ownership of the Pulse nightclub property—has skewed every step of the development process and has led to biased communications that favor building a memorial museum (which we point to in our open letter). From the onset, survey questions and public town halls showed bias and centered around the design and building of a memorial museum, with little room for presenting a public memorial park as a viable alternative. Time for a robust public debate was not given and the methods of public engagement did not consider all of those affected by the mass shooting. For example, town halls and community talks are not appropriate methods for public engagement following the trauma of a mass shooting. People from affected communities still fear crowded public settings. These were not debates, but presentations.

 

Moving forward, any memorial project must include neutral, unbiased surveys, as well as open and accessible digital platforms for public engagement.

Secondly, a large group of family members of victims and survivors has been suing Barbara Poma. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's more, is that these two conflicts of interest are overlapping. The lawsuit has alleged that Barbara Poma illegally transferred the Pulse Nightclub property, selling it for $100 in the aftermath of the shooting. We want to know why this was done?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can see on public record that the property, located at 1912 S. Orange Avenue, was sold for $100 via a Quit Claim Deed on November 4, 2016. This was one month BEFORE Barbara and Rosario Poma announced to the public that they were not going to sell their property to the City of Orlando. We provided all the property deeds for you to review here, here, and here. We also provide you with the timeline for these transactions as shown on the Orange County Property Appraiser site below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regardless of the outcome of this lawsuit, it is illogical to suggest that Ms. Poma can effectively represent the best interests of the entire diverse group of affected communities without bias. Thus, it is not possible for Barbara Poma to be the unifying leader that this monumental project requires. These conflicts of interest alone justify our request for Barbara Poma to resign from her leadership role at the OnePulse Foundation.

Questions we want answers to:

 

1. How much money was spent on the property at 1912 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32806 between June 2016 and today? This number should include costs to secure and police the property, in addition to all construction costs to renovate the property for the interim memorial. Where did this money come from? Was Barbara Poma's interest in and ownership of the property ever addressed when this spending approved by the Board?

2. How were approvals for these expenditures decided? Who approved? Is there documented evidence of this process? Has anyone in the OnePulse Foundation addressed a possible conflict of interest due to property ownership by Barbara Poma and allegations that the property was illegally transferred?

3. As co-owners of the Pulse Nightclub, how much insurance money did Barbara and Rosario Poma collect in the aftermath of the shooting? Where did this money go?

 

4. Are there any other ways that Barbara Poma, as an owner of the property, has directly or indirectly benefited from the activities and investments made by the OnePulse Foundation?

5. Does the OnePulse Foundation have a conflict of interest policy? According to Guidestar it does and all Board members have signed it. If so, when was this drafted? Who drafted it? When was this made publicly available? How is this timeline documented and verified? Did the Board directly address what we have outlined as conflicts of interest? We demand the OnePulseFoundation make public all signed disclosure statements as well. 

3. Turning the Site of a Mass Shooting into a Tourist Attraction

 

Barbara Poma continues to claim that the OnePulse Foundation's "memorial" museum will not be a tourist attraction. However, the project has been consistently pitched as a future tourist attraction by her and other leaders at the OnePulse Foundation. Here are the receipts:

 

 

 

 

 

The footage above shows Ms. Poma pitching mock-ups of potential designs for a “memorial” museum to the local Tourism Development Council, discussing the need to displace businesses to accommodate parking for “tourist buses.” According to reporting from the Bungalower, “Poma and Crittenden emphasized the impact of other Disaster Tourism sites across the country and revealed that the average amount of daily visitors to the interim Pulse memorial site currently hovers around 300 people a day.” This reporting included the following slides explaining how they see the museum as part of the city's larger tourism market:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On 08/04/2019, we sent a public records request to Orange County for the release of the OnePulse Foundation's full application. This was provided to the Tourist Development Tax Application and Review Committee by Fred Winterkamp on August 17, 2018 (see meeting minutes here). We have not received this application as of 08/07/2019.

Furthermore, a January 19, 2019 funding proposal submitted to the Florida State House states that the proposed museum will benefit the city “measured by the number of local visitors... [and] number of visitors from outside the region, state, and country who will come to Orlando to visit the Pulse Memorial Museum in addition to theme parks.” It also states that the museum will bring an “improvement in economic activity,” and that “ticket sales and attendance” will be tracked as marketable data. See below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As these sources show (and this one, too), Orlando's mass -shooting site has been leveraged as a tourist attraction. The Interim Pulse Memorial Guestbook is being used to collect market data that's being used to justify the proposed museum's place in Orlando's tourism economy. Is this an appropriate use of people's grief and mourning?

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, instead of being led by grassroots local activists and affected community members, the organization's Board of Trustees is full of corporate representatives, including George A. Kalogridis (President of Walt Disney World), Dale Hipsh (Senior Vice President of Hard Rock International), and Yatin Patel (co-founder of Reservations.com)—all obvious representatives of the local tourism industry.

 

We are not against all museum exhibitionsFor example, we 100% support the exhibit that has been crafted by the public museum professionals at the Orange County Regional History Center. We support their hard work, which is being done by archivists who earn modest salaries. We also support the 100 volunteer-run LGBT History Museum of Central Florida and believe that they deserve more funding for a brick-and-mortar space. These qualified professionals have been archiving and exhibiting local LGBTQ+ histories for years. 

 

We are against the OnePulse Foundation's vision for a museum that seeks to function as a tourist attraction. We are against turning Orlando's mass shooting into a spectacle through a multi-block "memorial" museum that seeks to gobble up nearby businesses and provide an economic benefit to those that remain. Has anyone asked nearby residents if they share the OnePulse Foundation's vision and support it?     

4. Misleading and Biased Information, Statements, and Methods

The OnePulse Foundation's "non-profit" 501(c)3 status has been used to deflect our criticisms of Barbara Poma's $100k+ salary and other ethical issues which we have identified. The insistence that the OnePulse Foundation is a non-profit when confronted with these critiques makes the false suggestion that non-profits are ethical and unable to put public funds into private pockets. We know that this is not the case (see here, here, and here). We also remind readers that the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is also a non-profit.    

The recent letter sent by Ms. Poma to survivors and family members, to which we openly responded to, represents one instance of presenting misleading and biased information. It also presents one instance where Ms. Poma has said one thing in public and another thing in private. This is why we call for all private communications between Ms. Poma and those directly affected by the event to be released to the public and evaluated by a neutral third party. These communications are currently approved and sent through a third party, however, the approving boards have at least one member who is also affiliated with the OnePulse Foundation. We have documented and archived these people and their relationships, but are not disclosing them here to protect the identities of these parties.

The survey and methods for public engagement also represent severely flawed and biased data collection methodologies, which we describe in detail at the beginning of our open letter. These do not show broad public support for the building of a $40M museum instead of a 100% public memorial park (with remaining funds going directly to the continued care of survivors). Nor does the data provided by the OnePulse Foundation as a result of the survey demonstrate a representative sample. 

 

Furthermore, Ms. Poma has consistently claimed that the proposed memorial museum, its gift shop, and anticipated admission prices are normal and reflect how things are typically done in response to a public tragedy. This is what she has publicly told survivors and family members. However, the models that she provides—the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum—were not constructed in response to mass shootings nor universally accepted. It is not surprising that representatives for these memorial museums are on the OnePulse Foundation's Chairman’s Ambassadors Council. We think this is misleading. Ms. Poma or the OnePulse Foundation has not provided the same amount of information to survivors and families about the number of public memorial parks that have been built by volunteers and cities in response specifically to mass shootings.

 

Unlike the vision that Ms. Poma and the OnPulse Foundation provides, which requires making money off the tragedy, we offer a better vision for how the Orlando community should now respond to the event—a vision that is based on what has already been done in response to mass shootings in Las Vegas, Aurora, and Newtown.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have spoken to some of the volunteers who have built these memorials for their loved ones and they have told us that their direct involvement in these projects has been an integral part of their healing process. We deserve the same opportunity here in Orlando. We have allowed Barbara Poma and the OnePulse Foundation too much power in deciding the best way for the City of Orlando to memorialize its mass shooting. This should be led by the city and the affected communities, not by a non-profit.

 

Barbara Poma and the OnePulse Foundation have also ignored the problems and controversies associated with the model museums and have no effectively presented them to the public. This includes the inability for memorial museums to generate the revenue needed to cover its operating costs and similar protests by families against a "pay to grieve" memorial museum. See below: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, we don't need the spectacle of an international design competition and the fate of the city to be determined by a small "jury." Design concepts are due in early September, Presentations to the "jury" will be done in mid-October, and the winning team will be announced in late October.  Don't mark your calendars if you wish to participate. As of 08/07/2019, the exact dates had not been published on the organization's website (see the schedule that is posted below):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With deep integrity, we STATE: there should never be winners in the context of a mass shooting. However, the OnePulse Foundation has a track record of efforts to make some people winners. We think this is insulting, degrading, insensitive, and flat-out disrespectful.

 

Overall, we think that this kind of misleading and biased information given to survivors and family members is exploitative. We also believe that it is exploitative for the OnePulse Foundation to use the motto, "We Will Not Let Hate Win" when the organization has failed to moderate or control hate speech on its own Facebook page or spoken by its volunteers to harass survivors who disagree with the organization.  

 
5. Lack of Full Transparency and Accountability


On 08/01/2019, we could not find the OnePulse Foundations tax returns anywhere on their site. We got them from ProPublica, click here to see them. Having tax returns publicly and promptly available is typically a standard practice for non-profits and ensures some level of transparency. This is one example of the much broader failure to achieve full and complete transparency.

Furthermore, we are not the first or only voices to demand more transparency or to question the organization's financial practices. Earlier this year, there have been multiple concerns raised over the OnePulse Foundation's lack of financial transparency. WESH 2 even investigated the organization's finances:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the following video, Representative Anna Eskamani calls for increased transparency for the OnePulse Foundation on WFTV 9 and outlines how ethical non-profit spending is done. Unfortunately, Eskamani did not have a chance to respond to the $150k salary reported by the Orlando Sentinel and evidenced in the organization's tax returns. Instead, they signaled to Poma's prorated salary "because the charity’s board wasn’t organized until May of that year. Poma earned $150,000 in 2018." 990s say Poma earned $109,616.00 (still egregious).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the entire article with video, here. Other lawmakers such as Carlos Guillermo-Smith, Reps. Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy and Val Demings and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan have also joined in calling for the audit due to a lack of transparency and concerns about spending.

The external financial audit that the OnePulse Foundation only started in February 2019 has yet to be released and will result in the publication of 990s. Due to the conflicts of interest noted above, we demand a full audit by a forensic accountant to document and publicly disclose daily expenditures, costs, and donations. 990s are limited in the information they provide and the completion of this baseline financial audit is insufficient given our concerns.   

For us, complete transparency does not only refer to the organization's financial disclosures as required by law. Due to conflicts of interest and statements that we have called into question, we demand the complete disclosure of all communications between Barbara Poma, survivors, and family members of victims. We want to ensure that misleading or biased statements and presented information have not been the norm and that all private letters sent to survivors and family members should be made public and evaluated by a neutral third party.

Since the organization has taken public money, we also demand that it begin publishing all meeting minutes, agendas, plans, proposals, emails, board approvals, all financial information, and other documentation as we outline throughout this site. We demand that they make this information public with expediency and as soon as it becomes available going forward. Selective documentation is insufficient. We demand that all of the organization’s documentation be made public immediately, particularly in light of the conflicts of interest outlined above and what we detail in our open letter.

Questions we want answers to:

1. How often has the Board of Trustees reviewed timely financial reports? Is this process documented since the organization's inception? We demand the immediate release of all timestamped meeting minutes, along with the financial reports themselves, and the dates that they have were reviewed and approved by all board members.

 

2. Does the OnePulse Foundation have a travel expense reimbursement policy? If so, when was this drafted and published? Are these dates documented? Who drafted any and all policies? Are all travel expenses and reimbursements tracked and documented? Since the OnePulse Foundation has claimed to have visited a number of memorial museums, we want details about how these sites were chosen? Why they were chosen over other mass shooting memorial sites?

3. Does the OnePulse organization have a whistleblower policy? If so, when and by whom was it drafted? When and where was it published? have there been any internal complaints by staff or volunteers about the OnePulse Foundation's financial conduct (documented or not)?

 

4. We also wish to see all documentation regarding the following information that was published on Guidestar as of 08/07/2019, as we have reason to believe that his information is inaccurate (as noted throughout this site):

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Efforts to Silence Our Criticism

 

Associates of the OnePulse Foundation and supporters of their proposed museum have actively tried to silence our voices through practices that have included:

  • Publicly questioning our mental fitness;

  • Denouncing our criticisms as "hate" and “anger”;

  • Blaming our “anger” on our grief;

  • Excluding our views against the proposed museum from national publications, like The Advocate, even as the views of museum proponents are rushed to print;

  • Making misleading claims that there has been ample opportunity for robust public debate (when there has not been) and that we are “too late” to raise objections or concerns;

  • Claiming to speak for the dead despite the wishes of their family;

  • Making false accusations that we are spreading “fake news,” gossip, falsehoods, and "hate" (we have everything documented and cited);

  • Making false accusations that we seek publicity and personal financial benefit; 

  • Dismissing our broad coalition as the fringe opinions of “just a few;”

  • And other personal attacks on our coalition members, whose only goals are a dignified public memorial and an ethical development process.

7. Survivor Harassment in Connection with the OnePulse Foundation
 

Survivors who publicly speak out about the OnePulse Foundation are openly shamed, bullied, and harassed by OnePulse Foundation volunteers and supporters. This is just one of the many factors that make it difficult for survivors and families to organize and publicly protest. Here are some instances of such harassment on Facebook. This has been going on for a while and there have been no public denouncements or calls from Barbara Poma (addressed directly to her supporters and volunteers) to end this specific type of violence on survivors. See below for recent (July/August 2019) examples:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

This has been on the OnePulse Foundation website since June 22 and as of August 4, 2019, it had not been moderated/removed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In addition to these attacks, OnePulse Foundation supporters have also attacked survivors while claiming to "not let hate win," because in their eyes the museum is love and valid criticism is hate. This is evidenced on a Facebook user's account who linked to the OnePulse Foundation (we want to keep this person's identity anonymous, by not disclosing how they are connected to the organization):

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

We demand that this violence is stopped. What kind of leader remains silent when this is all publicly visible and especially when the harassers are people associated with the organization? When even the organization itself does not immediately remove hate speech from their site? As of August 4, 2019, Barbara Poma has remained silent on this issue in any documented public forum that we could find.

 

Furthermore, we demand to know: What mandatory training is provided to those associated with the OnePulse Foundation that specifically addresses survivor harassment, violence, ethics, and communications best practices in the context of a mass shooting incident? How often is this training offered? Who has taken this training? We also want to know what the repercussions of there are for online harassers inside the organization? Is there a process for documenting online harassment? If so, when was this process instituted? How many documented cases of online harassment have there been? 

 

Meanwhile, survivors have been publicly calling for help. This is why we demand that all private funds donated by the OnePulse Foundation go to people and NOT buildings. The OnePulse Foundation does not provide victims services. 

 
 
 
 
 

The OnePulse Foundation IS in fact, letting hate win. The organization is actively promoting division by using their money for a museum and not to survivors who need financial help. The museum is a divisive project that is pitting survivors against survivors. It needs to be stopped. OnePulse Foundation needs to be dissolved. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. Other Problematic Leadership Decisions
 

We trusted Ms. Poma to lead the development of a dignified, respectful memorial. Instead, what we have is a mall kiosk, an interim memorial that looks more like a marketing campaign for the City of Orlando, a divided community, and the promise of a spectacle. The interim memorial has been widely criticized in our communities, with one of the reasons being because it has placed so much focus on the City of Orlando and not enough on the lives taken. As David Ballard eloquently said, "Looking at it, I felt like I was witnessing a theft." If this is how the OnePulse Foundation has made us feel about a minor change to the grassroots memorial that we created on-site as a community, how can we trust Barbara Poma and the OnePulse Foundation to lead a massive museum project?  

 

We believe that the OnePulse Foundation lacks sufficient democratic organization and public representation. It may very well be that we are in this situation because, in part, Ms. Poma has put together a Board of Trustees that does not adequately represent the community that the organization is supposed to serve. We believe that if they were aware of the issues that our community faces and had a comprehensive understanding of our community's diverse and critical perspectives, they would have been able to protect Ms. Poma from making negligent decisions that hurt our communities and do not serve our best interests. We do not believe the OnePulse Foundation's Board of Trustees represents the will of Orlandoans.

 

We also want to reiterate that Ms. Poma's ownership of a gay nightclub does not automatically give her non-profit leadership experience or membership to our community. Many of us who went to the Pulse Nightclub regularly never met or even saw Ms. Poma. To us, she has always been an entrepreneur with a mutually-beneficial relationship with the gay community. we have never given her permission to represent us, our needs, or our vision of the future. Her self-appointed role as CEO of the OnePulse Foundation does not reflect the will of the LGBTQ+ community or the good citizens of Orlando.

 

As of 08/07/2019, and according to the OnePulse Foundation's own website, the Board of Trustees consists of zero survivors, family members, or community activists. Instead, the Board is made up of corporate executives, an entertainer, a former ambassador to Luxembourg (not sure of the connection here), financial advisors, and the like. The fact that the Board of Trustees does not appropriately represent racial and socioeconomic diversity is shocking when the OnePulse Organization seeks to create a curriculum on diversity and inclusion as part of its educational projects.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Earl Crittenden (Board Chairman, onePULSE Foundation), Sharon Hagle (Founder & President, SpaceKids Global), Dale Hipsh (Senior Vice President of Hotels, Hard Rock International), Barbara Poma (CEO & Executive Director, onePULSE Foundation and founder of PULSE nightclub), Kelly Lafferman (Board Secretary, onePULSE Foundation and Principal & CMO, Findsome & Winmore), Cathy Brown-Butler (Senior Vice President, Bank of America) and George Kalogridis (Board Vice Chairman, onePULSE Foundation and President, Walt Disney World) (photo by Brandon Glover)

We do not believe that any educational programs associated with the shooting should be developed in conjunction with corporations or corporate trainers. Instead, they should be developed with experts, activists, and experienced public educators who specialize in LGBTQ+ issues, gun violence research, Latinx experiences, and more. Specifically, we refer to the proposed curriculum and "Pulse Academy" to be housed in the museum and created in conjunction with the Disney Institute. Also, the focus of any curriculum around the event should focus on ending gun violence. Diversity and inclusion are also important, but the only thing we know for certain about the event in Orlando is that it was a mass shooting that severely affected local LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities, in particular. The nation can not afford a museum or organization that continues to spread imagined narratives that do nothing to end gun violence in this country. Are the corporations who back the OnePulse Foundation willing to take a political stance against guns? In Florida? Have they publicly committed to doing so as OnePulse Foundation leaders?

Additionally, on the Chairmen's Ambassador's Council, only two out of the five council members are locals. The Task Force has a little more representation, meaning it's not 0%. However, only 4 out of 26 are listed as survivors. That's 15% of the Task Force and 1% of survivors (using numbers provided by the OneOrlando Fund. We have more survivors and family members who have publicly joined our growing coalition and who privately support us.
 
We can get into more details, but again, our goal here is not to shame people who may be sincere in their intentions to do something good for the community. We applaud their dedication to the community. We only believe that those efforts have been misguided by a narrow focus and an inexperienced leader and we simply wish to point out is that the OnePulse Foundation has not been led by those directly affected by the event.
 
We openly invite all those who have volunteered for the OnePulse Foundation to join us instead in our efforts to raise funds for survivors, stop the building of a museum, and build a public memorial park, together. We will welcome you with open arms and without judgment. If you feel that you have been duped and over-sold on a project with questionable intentions, we feel the same way. Join us! 
 
It may seem trite to criticize the OnePulse Foundation's website design, however, difficulty navigating the foundation's website due to unnecessary music and animations impedes access to the little information that is provided. In other words, the website's clunkiness interferes with the organization's transparency. 
 

A Note to Readers: The first days of our coalition were a scramble to get all of the information publicly accessible, as soon as possible. We needed to show the public another narrative than the one communicated by the OnePulse Foundation. Within just a few days, we critically evaluated our own approach and our collective rage over this issue. While this anger still enrages us, out of respect for all survivors, families, and community members involved, we have made a concerted effort to soften our approach. We have also made an effort to make explicit the alternative narrative that we provide, rather than have it enmeshed in a collection of links and videos that made up our libraries. The result of this effort is this page, where we clearly outline all of the problems that we have identified. If you still want to access our old libraries and see additional resources, you can still view them using the links below:

Do not be mistaken. We will continue to directly confront and call out injustice as we see it. We will tell the facts and name the names. This is a part of our healing process. We will always support survivors and their needs. We will always honor and respect those we have loved and lost with the utmost integrity, without payment or notoriety.

 

We do not claim illegality. Injustice and unethical behavior are completely permissible within the law. Our criticism is not about financial fraud, it's about earning a living off of our deaths and putting a $40M building over the needs of survivors. 

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