Memorial Engagement Process

One of the city’s priorities is to take a collaborative approach to the development of the Orlando United Pulse Memorial to ensure it honors the victims, survivors and all those impacted by the tragedy. Critical to this effort is engagement and outreach with the victims’ families and survivors.

This process, outlined below, moves the city closer toward the goal of selecting a conceptual design by the end of the year.

Stakeholder and community engagement 

In April 2024, the city engaged Dr. Larry Schooler to implement a thoughtful, inclusive and efficient process for engaging and communicating with the victims’ families, the survivors and the community in the creation of a permanent Pulse memorial.  

Dr. Schooler brings conflict resolution expertise and has served as the lead facilitator on projects similar in nature to the Pulse memorial effort, including the Virginia Beach 5-31 Memorial Committee and the San Leandro Steven Taylor Sanctity of Life Pavilion project.  

To ensure the process is thoughtful, inclusive, and serves the needs of stakeholders and the community, Dr. Schooler has provided a team with a mix of backgrounds and perspectives to support this work, including fluent Spanish speakers. The team also provides liaison services between survivors and victims’ families to further ensure transparency, the building and maintenance of trust and that the process incorporates their wishes to honor loved ones and memorialize the tragedy’s impact.  

Phase 1: Initial process

The first phase of this process began in May 2024. First steps involved interviews and outreach with key stakeholders and small focus group discussions. 

Through various in-person and virtual sessions held in both English and Spanish, Dr. Schooler and his team facilitated discussions among victims’ families and survivors to help inform and shape recommendations for the development of a memorial that incorporates their wishes to honor loved ones and memorialize the impact the tragedy has had. 

The information gathered from this outreach and engagement led Dr. Schooler to recommend the formation of a Pulse Memorial Advisory Committee.  

Phase 2: Creating a committee

On June 7, 2024, Dr. Larry Schooler announced the creation of a working Pulse Memorial Advisory Committee to consist of members representing victims’ families, survivors and other stakeholders, as well as community leaders and those with technical experience in design and engineering, such as landscape architects.   

More than 150 individuals submitted applications to join the committee by the June 23 deadline. Of the applicants, 35% identified as Hispanic and 50% identified as being directly impacted by the tragedy, as a survivor, family member or friend of the victims or a first responder.  

The applications were reviewed without name or personal identifying information by a group of community leaders who made a recommendation to Mayor Dyer of individuals to serve on the committee.  

Those community leaders were: 

  • JahKiya Bell, Ed.D, Senior Advisor to the President and CEO, Heart of Florida United Way
  • Rev. Dr. Jose Rodriguez of the Episcopal Churches of Christ the King and Jésus de Nazaret
  • Joél Junior Morales, Foundation Manager, Contigo Fund
  • Jesse Arias, Director of the Orlando United Resiliency Services (OURS), LGBT+ Center Orlando 

On July 10, 2024, the city announced the Pulse Memorial Advisory Committee will consist of the following 18 members:  

  • Aracelis Maria Jimenez, lost a family member in the tragedy 
  • Brett Rigas, survivor and lost a family member in the tragedy
  • Brian Reagan, survivor, former Pulse employee, artist
  • Carlitos Diaz Rodriguez, family member of a survivor, architect/design professional, landscape architect, artist
  • Cesar Rodriguez, survivor 
  • Felicia Burt, lost a family member in the tragedy
  • Jamie Reed, lost a friend in the tragedy, architect/design professional, marketing professional
  • Joshua Garcia, former Pulse employee, provided services after the tragedy, mental health professional
  • Keinon Carter, survivor 
  • Kelly Dawson, lives in the Orlando area and felt the loss as a community member, architect/design professional
  • Rev. Marcelino Rivera, lost a friend in the tragedy, provided services after the tragedy, clergy and artist
  • Mayra Alvear BenabeI, lost a family member in the tragedy
  • Norman Casiano-Mojica, survivor
  • Nancy Rosado, provided services after the tragedy, mental health professional, community advocate, former first responder 
  • Perry T Snider Jr., lost a friend in the tragedy, former Pulse employee, artist
  • Siclaly “Laly” M. Santiago-Leon, lost a family member in the tragedy
  • Terrance Hunter, regularly visited or patronized Pulse, educator and museum professional
  • Tommy Connelly, survivor, artist 

Of the 18 invited to participate on the Pulse Memorial Advisory Committee, all had a direct relationship to the tragedy and/or had a profession that was specifically requested during the application process.  

More specifically, 17 indicated having a direct relationship to the tragedy, whether that be they lost a family member, are a survivor, lost a loved one or friend, worked at or regularly visited Pulse or directly assisted with the response to the tragedy.  

Of the 18 Pulse Memorial Advisory Committee members: 

  • 10 lost a family member or are a survivor of the tragedy 
  • 10 identify as Hispanic, three as Black or African American and five as White
  • Eight identify as male, seven as female and three as non-binary or androgynous 

Phase 3: Conducting public committee meetings

The Pulse Memorial Advisory Committee’s first meetings will be:  

More information about the meeting, including how the public can attend virtually in both English and Spanish, can be found here.

Monthly meetings of the committee will occur through the end of the year and will also be available for the public to attend virtually or in-person, in English and Spanish. 

In addition to the committee’s work, families, survivors, and the broader community will have multiple opportunities over the next six months to provide input, along with a virtual space online for feedback and a dedicated telephone number for those wishing to communicate by phone or text message. More information on future opportunities for the public to participate will be found here.