Updated: Aug 23
By Eduardo Morales, Ph.D.
San Francisco will unveil its memorial to the 49 victims murdered in a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, Florida that occurred on June 12, 2016. This was the largest mass shooting of this kind in the history of the U.S. and deadliest in the history of violence against LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. where an additional 53 persons were wounded. Most of the dead and wounded were Latinx LGBTQ+ persons at the Pulse Club. The SF Board of Supervisors set aside $10,000 during the month of June, 2017 for this SF memorial to be realized. Unfortunately, no organization was identified as being responsible to oversee the design and execution of this memorial. Meanwhile, the funds were allocated directly to the SF Public Works Department.
AGUILAS stepped up to the plate to inquire and led the effort in order for the memorial to be designed and realized. Otherwise, the funding would be lost and the intent of the SF Board of Supervisors would not be realized. Over the many years since the allocation of funds, inquiries were made to the Latinx LGBTQ+ community about what kind of memorial would seem appropriate since most of the victims in this massacre were Latinx LGBTQ+ persons. Many attempts were made to find a home for the memorial. Finally, the SF LGBT Center decided to house the SF Pulse Memorial on the second floor of the center’s building. In order to facilitate the process for design and execution of the SF Pulse Memorial, the newly formed Castro LGBTQ Cultural District was designated by SF City and County to receive the $10,000 in 2020. A call for artistic proposals for this memorial was disseminated and only one proposal was submitted with three design options. Being of excellent design options, one option was selected for the SF Pulse Memorial. The artist renderings submitted by Brazilian artist Wilson Ferreira is in the form of a V shaped shield and will have the names of the 49 persons who were murdered at the Pulse Club. Currently, we are waiting for the SF City and County to approve the artist rendering so that the memorial can go into production and be housed on the second floor of the SF LGBT Center. It is expected that sometime in mid-September there will be a formal press release with a date certain for the unveiling of this new memorial for the victims in the Pulse massacre in time for the start of Latinx Heritage Month in the U.S.