1 A.M. Pulse Survivor and Families Gathering – Mayor Talking Points
Last updated on June 12, 2017
Mayor Dyer Remarks from 1 a.m. Pulse Survivors & Families Event
I’m not sure any of us thought to fully appreciate the joy and vitality that was inside the Pulse Nightclub at this time one year ago. We didn’t realize how much we should have been cherishing those moments from our friends and neighbors inside. So many of them from our LGBTQ community, Hispanic community, and other communities of color. They were doing what young people are supposed to do. They were enjoying each other’s company. There were smiling, dancing and laughing. We would have been able to hear and feel that spirited energy from where we are standing right now.
We all know what happened next and the way we felt when the calls and text messages reached our phones.
49 beautiful souls… taken from us in an act of hate and terror.
Your lives… and the lives of so many others… changed forever. This building, this street and this City changed forever as well. One year is not enough time to heal.
But here we are, a year later.
Gathered at the same place… in the same hour…relying on each other for strength. The darkness that surrounds us at this moment is in many ways the embodiment of the last year.
To the survivors… and the families of those we lost… As hard as we try, we can’t begin to know or understand the depths of the darkness that you’ve experienced over the last 12 months. We can’t begin to know or understand your pain. We can’t begin to know or understand the burden you carry as you’ve cried, prayed and mourned. Together, we can be certain that no matter how dark the night… the sun always rises. The light always triumphs over darkness. And… each of you is that light. Each of you who survived is that light. Each of you who’s had to say goodbye to someone you loved and has found the strength to carry on is that light. We, your community, have been privileged to see that light every day since June 12th of last year. We’ve seen it in the courage you’ve shown… in the face of unimaginable fear and loss.
In your grace.
And your love.
More than anything, we’ve seen that light in your love. Love… in the face of an unimaginable act of hate. You set an example not just for our City to follow… but for the world. In the face of terror… you stared down the worst of humanity… and showed the world what the best of humanity looks like. Extraordinary is the simplest way I can describe it.
Each one of you is extraordinary.
I realize that gathering here in this place… at this hour… is beyond difficult. But, I also know that the strength you’ve shown over the past year will carry you through today and in the future. I pray that this gathering gives you some measure of peace and continued healing. As you share this day with us … I want each of you to know that Orlando loves you.
Your City has your back. And, we’re not going anywhere. We are still with you… we are still praying for you every single day.
We’re going to be here for you for whatever you need… as long as you need it… no matter what. That is our enduring promise to you.
Thank you for asking me to be with you this morning. It means a great deal to me. I also want you to know that I take the responsibility of talking about Pulse and honoring the memories of your loved ones very seriously. I am one member of a large and dedicated group of City employees and volunteers. In everything that we do, or have done over the past year, our goal is to “get it right” for you. I hope we’ve made you proud.
To close this morning… I just want to say that there are so many things that I hope and pray for when it comes to Pulse.
My biggest hope is that as you, the survivors, continue to heal… that you can find your way back… fight your way back even… from the darkness of the past year.
A year ago, your friends and loved ones were inside this building smiling, dancing and laughing one year ago. I pray that there will be a time somewhere in the future that you will once again, be able smile, dance and laugh. And, that you will do so with your loved ones in mind… knowing that your love for them changed Orlando for the better… and your example has made the world a better place. That’s what those you’ve lost would have wanted. And I know that’s what our community wants for you.