A Path Forward
We do not have all the answers, but we know that the OnePULSE Foundation's proposed museum is not the best use of funds. Not at this moment. We know that an appropriate and dignified public memorial is necessary and the OnePULSE Foundation's plans to turn the tragedy into a spectacle have prevented this from happening.
A $40M+ museum is not the most effective way to support survivors, memorialize our loved ones, educate people about the complex issues surrounding the Orlando shooting, or strengthen and empower Orlando's diverse communities for change. Grassroots organizing and strengthening our current educational institutions can accomplish these goals.
We suggest that a path forward may look something like this:
Step 1: We must halt OnePULSE Foundation's development process in order to provide time to conduct a thorough community study and re-evaluate the foundation's plans and mission. We must terminate plans to build a museum.
Step 2: We must build a dignified, 100% public memorial park.
Step 3: On September 13, 2019, the OnePULSE Foundation closed on a property located at 438 W. Kaley Street, roughly one-third of a mile from the Pulse Nightclub. The cost of the property was $3.5M and was purchased with funds from tourism development tax (TDT) revenue granted by the Orange County Commission. $6.5M remains of the TDT grant, the total of which was $10M.
As victims/survivors, we ask the City of Orlando and the Orange County government to transfer ownership of this building to the Mass Shooting Survivor Center—a PTSD counseling and survivor support center created and operated by victims/survivors and their allies. If Orange County was willing to support a museum tourist attraction that put money into the private pockets of a negligent business owner, then it should be willing to provide the same funds for the building of the Mass Shooting Survivor Center, which will truly honor and respect victims/survivors and provide them with the ongoing care that they need.
For the past three years, the Orlando United Assistance Center (OUAC) has been designated as the organization for providing survivors with the mental healthcare that they need. They have been insufficient, have not provided adequate care, and are not able to meet the continued needs of survivors. They are running out of funding and should close its doors once their funding is spent.
In addition to providing free support services to Pulse victims/survivors, the Mass Shooting Survivor Center will be open to provide free support services to all victims/survivors of mass shootings. The names of the 49 murdered will be forever etched in a plaque in front of the counseling center. This recognition will honor the memory of the lives taken and will connect the space with the 100% public memorial park that will be built on the existing Pulse Nightclub property.
We do not seek a seat at the table. We have created our own table. Whoever is willing to join us in our fight against exploitation and for justice is welcome. We do not need moderators. We do not want invitations to OnePULSE Foundation events. We do not want unsolicited outreach. We have nothing to prove. We have nothing to debate. Our mission is pure. Help us fight for a 100% public memorial park. Help us fight against a museum.