The Florida gay nightclub that was the site of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history will become a memorial and museum to educate future generations about the importance of tolerance.
‘‘What began as a place for fun and joy is now sacred ground,’’ Pulse owner Barbara Poma said at a news conference on Thursday. ‘‘What was once our little corner … is now shared with the world.’’
The AP reports that Poma offered few concrete details about what the memorial will look like, how much it will cost and what the timeline will be for building it. But she said the design and content of the memorial will be decided by survivors of the massacre, family members of those killed, first responders, and the doctors and nurses who treated the victims, as well as the greater Orlando community.
A survey of questions about how the memorial should be designed and its content already is being formulated.
“The ultimate design and function will be decided by this community,” Poma said.
The memorial effort will be led by a board of trustees, including Walt Disney World president George Kalogridis; Jason Felts, CEO of film company Virgin Produced; and entertainer Lance Bass. The board will be led by Orlando attorney Earl Crittenden of GrayRobinson.
Gunman Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during the attack at the gay nightclub on June 12, 2016, which claimed the lives of 49 people and wounded dozens more. Mateen was eventually killed by police during a shootout after a three-hour standoff.
Poma opened the nightclub in 2004 as a way to honour her brother, who died from AIDS.