ORLANDO, Fla. — Saturday marks the 5th anniversary of the Pulse tragedy in Orlando. Many lives were injured, and 49 lives were killed after a gunman entered the club and started shooting.
Neema Bahrami was the event manager at the club and was inside the night of the attack. As the five-year anniversary approaches, he wants to make sure their light continues to shine.
The following are his statements on each of the topics talked about in this interview with WPTV’s Josh Navarro
Five Years since the tragedy:
“As the five-year creeps up on us tomorrow, which is insane to me that it’s already been five years. We are still on the streets spreading the word of love. We are still trying to bring all the communities together. Like last night we had a huge event called United dance where we were dancing in the streets to show our 49 angels that we still remember them, we will never forget them, and we will keep spreading the message of love.”
“We Will Not Let Hate Win”:
“If we stop then we allow the hate to win. So, when a man walks into your building filled with hate, and it takes away 49 of your family members we have to keep fighting for those names that can’t fight themselves. So, we must keep the message going. We must show the world we’re not backing down. We’re going to do whatever it takes to spread that message all around the world.”
“But we really need to start educating our youth that love has no boundaries. I think it comes from the bottom and then we need to get to the root of things. Teach our youth if we taught them in early stages that they love everybody regardless of their orientation, race, religion, or gender. It's time for us to show the world that we are one and we will not be defeated.”
Governor Ron DeSantis’ vetoes legislation on funding mental health services for Pulse Survivors:
“Well, I was completely in shock because he was on our property. He came to the memorial and in front of everybody, he said he was going to have our back basically. For him to do something like this was just heartbreaking. It takes about seven years for people to really heal from a situation like we had a mass shooting. But what is really really frustrating is that we still need mental health counselors, we still need therapy, we still need so much that our community is now literally gonna be taken away from because he doesn’t want to fund it. I'm just baffled by somebody who would lie to your face and come into your space when your 49 family members were killed and to say we have your back and to do the opposite was just heartbreaking. “
Designating Pulse as a National Memorial:
“It was like the most rewarding thing that you could hear. You know everything else that you were doing that day just blocked out. I am beyond thrilled to even be a volunteer with this project at the One Pulse Foundation. The museum and memorial are two separate things.
The Orange County Regional History Center launched an exhibit to honor the lives lost and the community’s response that followed the tragedy. It runs till August 2021.
“There's a survivor's walk which I’m nothing but honored since I was there that night. To see where the survivors went and to give them a place where they can walk and have peace. It's just rewarding. I'm so excited about this project. “
“Tonight is very special to us. We’re doing a special concert downtown Orlando in honor of one of the 49 and the memory of that other 48. So, all 49 will be honored tonight at a special concert that our LGBTQ singers in town are singing live at. Then tomorrow it’s going to be a hard day. Because what people don’t realize is, June 12 was a Saturday. So tomorrow, June 12, tomorrow is a Saturday. This is the first time that we are doing a Latin event on a Saturday that falls on June 12. So, this is huge for the Latin community tomorrow night.”
Numerous events are being held to remember the victims. For information, click here.