Barbara Poma didn’t want to give up the gay nightclub that, for 12 years, had stood as a monument to her deceased brother. On Tuesday, she said, she realized letting the Orlando club go was the best way to keep its legacy intact.
Calling it an “emotional and bittersweet day,” Poma confirmed that the city of Orlando intends to buy Pulse nightclub so that it can be turned into a memorial for the 49 people killed in a June massacre.
The City Council will vote Monday on whether to approve the $2.25 million purchase of the Florida nightclub, according to a statement from the city.
“Never could I have imagined that the building we built as Pulse Nightclub would not be a part of my daily life. Pulse was a huge part of my heart, my soul and my family,” she said in a statement. “As difficult as it is for me to part with Pulse, this transaction ensures that what has become a sacred site will be properly memorialized for generations to come.”
Poma’s brother, John, died of AIDS in 1991. Poma and a partner opened Pulse in 2004 “to keep her brother’s spirit alive,” naming the club after his heartbeat. The club was meant to embrace the gay lifestyle and be a community partner. It referred to itself as more than “just another gay club.
After a 29-year-old gunman claiming allegiance to ISIS perpetrated the nation’s worst mass shooting there in June, killing more than four dozen people and wounding 53 others, Poma realized the nightclub must stand as a far grander memorial than originally intended.
“The memories of those who were taken or were harmed, and the legacy of Pulse Nightclub and why it was established, will be preserved forever,” she said. “Since the day of this terrible tragedy, my commitment has been that the heart of Pulse Nightclub keep beating and now we can all be assured that will happen.”
Poma promised to be involved in the plans for a memorial and predicted “a long process” with community input.
Read more at CNN.com.