Sunday, February 4, 2018

Memorial Task Force Potluck and Annual Review

A Task Force Potluck and Annual Review was held at Christ Church Unity Orlando (771 Holden Ave Orlando, FL 32839) in December of 2017. There were several posters at the front of the room that showed the design Dix Hite had proposed for an Interim Memorial, which helps to clean up the site and added some new landscaping. The interim memorial will provide areas to leave messages and will include seating, shade, lighting and trees. The iconic sign will be enhanced but not removed. A new fence will be placed around the perimeter of the nightclub itself, which will remain standing until a decision is made in the future regarding the permanent memorial design. The new fence has a section which allows visitors to see the damage to the building from the police breach of the wall on the evening of June 12, 2016. Much of the labor involved will be completed off-site and new elements will be installed at the site with minimal impact on the surrounding community.

The Task Force is working towards keeping the meetings inclusive. Pam Schwartz set up Zoom (a digital video conferencing system) which allowed distant survivors and families of victims access to the meeting. Many of the faces in the room were familiar and I was pleased to be seated at a table with Terence Hickey who was involved in the comfort dog program at Orlando Regional Medial Center after the shooting.

Results from the memorial survey sent out to families and survivors were complete and the results would be discussed at the next Task Force Meeting. The survey was set up to gauge what families and survivors felt they would like to have done at the site. The task force is still in its infancy and they are working towards completing their mission and vision statements for the future memorial and museum.

Nikole discussed the events planned for 2018. Town hall meetings would be held at regular intervals to keep everyone apprised of the progress moving forward. Also on the calendar are a Family Day, a Community Rainbow Run, the Annual Remembrance Ceremony and of course PRIDE. The Orlando One Pulse Task Force will also be involved in bringing the Laramie Project to Orlando.

The Laramie Project (2000) is a play by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the reaction to the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. The murder was denounced as a hate crime and brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in various states, including Wyoming. The play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of the town, company members' own journal entries, and published news reports. It is divided into three acts, and eight actors portray more than sixty characters in a series of short scenes. The play will run June 1, to July 1 of 2018.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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