The past week has been a horribly tragic one for Orlando as the city has dealt with the shooting death of The Voice star Christina Grimmie, the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub, and the death of a young boy at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. As the families and friends of the victims try to figure out how to recover, the owner of the Pulse nightclub needs to figure out what to do with her business. Well, the fate of the building where the shooting took place is now known.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Orlando to speak about the tragedy as well as meet with the families of the 49 victims and 53 others wounded in the shooting. They paid their respects and spoke on the horrific few days that the people of Orlando have faced.
President Barack Obama and VP Biden. w 49 roses, visit Pulse/Orlando shooting memorial site. pic.twitter.com/nsZVyUpEV7
— Stephen Crowley (@Stcrow) June 16, 2016
So many people have wondered what would become of the Pulse nightclub after the police and FBI complete their investigation of the building. Would it be torn down? Would it be abandoned? Would it be put on the market with the hopes that someone may want to make something else of it?
Matt Lauer of NBC’s TODAY spoke with Barbara Poma, owner of the Pulse nightclub, who was not in Orlando on the morning of the shooting. He asked her about the future plans of the nightclub and she said that this past weekend was not the last time it would have its doors open.
“We just have to move forward and find a way to keep their hearts beating and their spirits alive. We aren’t going to let someone take this away from us.”
Lauer looked at her solemnly for a moment before asking her, “Can you go back to that club?” She responded simply by saying, “I have to go back to that club.”
A professor from Tulane University in New Orleans said that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to reopen the club in the same spot. He stated that it could very well be “therapeutic and it connects people” which is exactly what they may need.
Barbara Poma co-founded the club in 2004 and it was reportedly named Pulse for a very specific reason. Poma’s brother John died of AIDS and she wanted to name it Pulse so it could signify his heartbeat. Just as she honored him, she is honoring all those who have been affected by this tragedy, and she’s done it via a recovery fund set up for them.
Poma created a fundraising site to help employees and staff members of Pulse “with the after-effects of this terrible event,” according to PEOPLE. When going to the official website for the nightclub, people are met with the following message and a link to donate to help them.
“On 6.12.16, our Orlando community was changed forever. We grieve with the victims, their families and our Pulse family, and we thank you all for the outpouring of support and love that is helping us through this tragic time.
“For those of you wanting to help the staff, the Pulse Employee Recovery Fund provides assistance to employees who have been affected by this tragedy and will continue to have monetary needs during our time of recovery. All money goes directly to the Pulse employees to assist with their daily needs while they are out of work.”
Poma told Matt Lauer that the Pulse nightclub “was supposed to be a safe place” and she always envisioned it as such. She said it has always been a place of “love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community.”
One day, she is hoping it will do that again.
As it currently stands, the Pulse nightclub is going to return as owner Barbara Poma believes that this is going to be a huge step in the healing process. The loss of 49 inside that club is something that the people of Orlando and the world don’t fully know how to comprehend. Still, the staff of Pulse has a recovery fund set up for them and a long road ahead before things can even begin to return to somewhat normal.
[Photo via Pulse Orlando]