Fort Lauderdale To Host 2 Blood Drives For Pulse Nightclub Shooting Victims In Orlando
In the aftermath of Sunday's mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, Fort Lauderdale will be hosting blood drives on June 14 and 24 for locals to show their support. There will also be a memorial service held June 17.
South Floridians have already come together to remember the victims and families affected by the violence at Pulse, an LGBT-friendly establishment. Numerous vigils were held Sunday evening in cities including Miami Beach, Wilton Manors, West Palm Beach, and Port St. Lucie, where hundreds gathered to mourn together.
Locally, the community vigil held at The Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors was livestreamed on Facebook Sunday evening.
A memorial service planned for Friday, June 17, will take place at Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. The event will begin at 1 p.m.
Mayor Jack Seiler released a statement Sunday afternoon, offering his condolences to the City of Orlando and the LGBT community in light of the attack.
"This is not only a tragedy for the City of Orlando, it is a direct assault on our state, our nation, and our democracy. The City of Fort Lauderdale stands strong with and in support of the City of Orlando, and we offer whatever resources and help may be needed to assist during this difficult time," he said.
Seiler has also urged residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to local authorities.
The Pride Center, alongside Wilton Manors nonprofit SunServe—which provides social programming and support to LGBTQ individuals—are offering free grief counseling to those who need it. A direct phone line has been set up at 954.764.5150 ext. 105.
Equality Florida, a civil rights organization dedicated to the LGBT community, has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victims and their families. As of Monday morning, about 38,000 donors had raised nearly $1.5 million.
Nonprofit OneBlood also said it was in need of O-negative, O-positive and AB plasma blood donors following the attack. After thousands lined up at blood donation centers throughout Orlando ready to help victims receiving care, OneBlood issued a statement Sunday afternoon saying it was at capacity.
Still, the organization is encouraging people to make appointments at local centers throughout the week in order to help replenish the supply. (Click here for more about donor eligibility.)
On Monday, officials confirmed 49 people died in the attack at Pulse; at least 53 were injured. The original death toll of 50 included the gunman—identified by authorities as 29-year-old Omar Mateen—who was killed during a standoff with police.
While exact details surrounding Mateen’s motives remain unclear, in an address to the nation Sunday, President Barack Obama called the suspect’s actions both “an act of terror and an act of hate.”
In a statement on Pulse’s website, club owner Barbara Poma offered her condolences to the victims’ families:
"Like everyone in the country, I am devastated about the horrific events that have taken place today. Pulse, and the men and women who work there, have been my family for nearly 15 years. From the beginning, Pulse has served as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. I want to express my profound sadness and condolences to all who have lost loved ones. Please know that my grief and heart are with you."
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has requested an emergency declaration from Obama so that “‘the full resources of the federal government' can be made available for the individuals, families, and communities impacted by this ‘horrific massacre.’”
BLOOD DRIVE AT CITY HALL
Tuesday, June 14
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Parking lot on the east side of City Hall
100 North Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale
BLOOD DRIVE AT FIRE STATION #2
Friday, June 24
8 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Roundabout on the west side of Fire Station #2
528 NW 2nd St., Fort Lauderdale
MEMORIAL SERVICE AT PARKER PLAYHOUSE
Friday, June 17
707 Northeast 8th St., Fort Lauderdale
(Image via Flickr/Fibonacci Blue)
This post has been updated to include information about the Fort Lauderdale memorial service planned for June 17.