On the second anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in downtown Orlando, we pause to reflect on that day, as well as repost this written by our team member, Haley Fielding, on the occasion of the first anniversary. Though a year old, we still find some solace in these words. And, as Haley writes, “Here we are . . . still Orlando Strong, still Orlando United.”
One year ago today I woke up at 7:00 am to a BBC notification on my phone saying that there had been a shooting at an Orlando nightclub. Tears streamed down my face as I read about the tragedy that had happened at a nightclub that I had celebrated at, that my best friends frequented and even lived close to, and that I had even considered going to the night before with two of my other close friends. I immediately called those who I thought could have been there.
While I am lucky to have lost no one at Pulse, Orlando lost 49 phenomenal people. We lost our feeling of security.
However, something even more miraculous happened. We were reminded of how important it is to celebrate our pride in who we are, and to stand by those who we love as allies. We saw acts of kindness and love bloom as Angels protected the affected from those looking to further inflict hate, people stood in line for hours to donate blood or anything they could–whether it be time or money. We saw Orlando come together to stand up to this as a community united.
As a city we feel the impacts of the shooting everywhere from a mural to our soccer stadium to Lake Eola to the memorial outside of Pulse. On this day please remember to keep the families and friends of those who were lost in your thoughts or prayers–they will never get to see their loved one at the table, they’ll never get to hear their laugh or see their smile.
Occasionally I cry when I think about Pulse. We’re all still healing, but the incredible thing about the City Beautiful is that we’re never alone. Here we are, one year later, still Orlando Strong, still Orlando United.
We know that today can unearth some difficult feelings. If you’re feeling triggered and are in need of emotional support, here are some resources open to the public:
Orlando United Counseling: (407) 898-0110
Offers confidential, personalized, long-term counseling to anyone impacted by the Pulse nightclub shootings.
Offers free walk-in counseling Tuesdays from 9 am to 1 pm and Thursdays between 10 am and 2 pm.
Offers counseling services in English and Spanish.
Offers free and conditional emotional support 24/7 to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.