Unveiled on Monday, June 11, 2018, the East Campus Pulse Remembrance site serves as a sanctuary of quiet reflection in honor of the victims of the Pulse nightclub attack two years ago.
The event began in the screening theater of the School of Arts and Entertainment at 10 a.m. Members of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club were involved in the planning of the remembrance and handed out roses to family members of the victims who were invited to attend.
Student Government Association (SGA) and Valencia Volunteers were also in attendance as greeters and ushers.
Music by the Valencia Opera Theater Workshop Ensemble welcomed visitors and created a special atmosphere for the remembrance. Stacey Johnson, president, East and Winter Park Campuses, began the event by affirming, “We stand together today to never forget. We stand together to reflect on the grief we have shared. We stand together to remember our loved ones. We stand together to remember our students. We stand together with resolve to use love and peace in the place of death and hate.”
After speaking, Stacey introduced Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith, state legislator, representing East Orlando District 49, who also shared words of support and encouragement. The audience was then invited to walk to the remembrance site, located to the south of the pond near Building 2.
Once at the site, attendees with roses were asked to lay them next to the veiled monument, which was dedicated to the 49 individuals lost in the tragedy. Ishmael Perez, 2017 Valencia Graduate and past GSA president, read the names of the seven Valencia student victims and spoke about the rainbow eucalyptus tree that had been planted to commemorate the lives lost at Pulse — noting that the bark of the tree will grow into a rainbow of many colors. He drew attention to the seven bollards (or seats) that were placed beneath the tree, providing a quiet place for contemplation, honor, grieving and peace.
After, Ishmael and Liz Jusino, a former Valencia advisor, read the 42 additional victims’ names.
The ceremony closed with Ishmael unveiling the monument, which reads, “Dedicated to the 49 lives lost, including seven Valencia students, at Pulse Nightclub on June 12, 2016.”
To honor our fallen students, the seven names of the Valencia students are also listed on the monument. To view pictures of the remembrance, click here.