Just one week ago, most of the world had not heard of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Just one week later Omar Mateen has ensured that Pulse nightclub would become infamous as the scene of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001. Since Mateen murdered 49 people and wounded 53 others, Pulse nightclub and the city of Orlando have become synonymous with mass murder born of hatred. Those killed and injured in the Pulse nightclub were seemingly targeted purely on the basis of their sexuality, and over the past week, questions have been raised as to whether Mateen was himself a repressed homosexual.
The Guardian reports that yesterday, Orlando began the awful process of holding funerals for the victims of the Pulse atrocity. The thing about hate crimes is that so often they have exactly the opposite reaction to that anticipated by the sick individuals who target the innocent. Orlando has rallied round; it has reached out with love to the families who lost loved ones at Pulse. Across the world, people have held vigils and shown their solidarity with those killed and wounded in Orlando. Despite his terrible actions, Mateen has succeeded only in uniting right thinking people across the world, those who realize that the LGBTQ+ community have every right to enjoy a night at a nightclub without fear and without being attacked for their sexuality.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the formation of the OneOrlando Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to provide much need support to the victims of the Pulse atrocity and their families. In less than a week, that fund has benefited from over $7 million in donations. Of course, no amount of money could ever compensate the families of those who lost their lives in the Pulse nightclub on that fateful night, but perhaps the families will take comfort in the fact that across the world, people are feeling their pain.
There is a famous unattributed quote about music that says “music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it a rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” It seems that when it comes to the horrors in Orlando, musicians are determined to prove that quote wrong.
Following the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting, musicians have gathered to help support the victims and families of the shooting and the city of Orlando however they can. Panic! at the Disco held a blood drive and released a limited edition t-shirt with all proceeds being donated. PVRIS and Beartooth did the same by releasing limited edition t-shirts while You Blew It!, who call Orlando home, released an EP benefiting Center Orlando, an LGBTQ+ center providing counseling in the wake of the shooting.
Alternative Press reports that a host of musicians has come together to release a compilation titled Forever Beautiful: A Collection Of Love For Orlando. The record will feature a total of 49 bands with all proceeds of the release going directly to the OneOrlando fund. In a collective statement, the artists involved made clear that the compilation is a message of love for the Pulse nightclub victims.
“This compilation is a love letter to the community of Orlando, FL. Following the tragic events at Pulse Nightclub on June 12th, we wanted to show our support and love for our LGBTQ community the best way we knew how; through music.”
“The tracks on this album were all individually contributed by the bands and artists themselves; artists from Orlando, New York, California, England, and all over the globe.”
“All proceeds from this compilation will be donated to support the victims of the Pulse shooting as a symbol of solidarity as our city rebuilds.”
Of course, nothing will ever erase the horror of what happened in the Pulse nightclub a week ago but by rallying around to support those affected by the tragedy both musicians and people across the world have shown that love trumps hate. Perhaps the solidarity shown by the world in the wake of the Pulse atrocity will help to ensure that the horror of Orlando is never forgotten. Perhaps in years to come, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando will be seen as a catalyst for the overcoming of hatred and prejudice. We can but hope.
[Photo by David Goldman/AP]