June 12, 2018, is the two-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the massacre that took the lives of 49 people who were out on a Saturday night in Orlando. Many people will choose to commemorate the anniversary their own way. One group of activists is planning a die-in on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Pulse anniversary die-in even has the support of some of the survivors of Parkland, who have promised to help promote the event.
Amanda Fugleberg, an Orlando resident, is leading the Pulse anniversary die-in along with Frank Kravchuk. “It was the first news I saw when I woke up that day, and I remember the death toll just rising,” Fugleberg recalls.
The die-in will last 12 minutes, or 720 seconds, at noon. on June 12. The 720 number was chosen to represent the approximate number of mass shooting victims who have died since Pulse.
A GoFundMe for the event has been set up, as well as a Twitter account to distribute any updates or announcements about the event. Fugleberg also contacted Parkland survivor David Hogg, who just led a successful die-in protest against Publix for supporting an NRA-backed candidate. She says Hogg expressed strong support for the idea and promised to help publicize the event.
Fugleberg and Kravchuk most want to see stronger screening for gun ownership. “I’d like to see universal background checks, which right now are not great considering the Pulse shooter was able to acquire guns when he’d been on an FBI watch list,” Fugleberg says.
In May, Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse, unveiled an interim memorial at the site of the nightclub, which has remained closed since the June 2016 shooting.
The club’s sign was improved, and a fountain destroyed by gunfire has been restored. A new fence surrounding the club’s perimeter features panels and murals honoring the victims, survivors and first responders.
Poma said the design emerged directly from the input of those affected by the Pulse massacre. “Everything you will experience here is intentional,” she said. “It has purpose.”
Quoting the Dalai Lama in praising the community’s support for the memorial project, Poma adds, “He says, ‘Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.’ I really do feel that everyone here is a reflection of that statement.”