Pulse owner promises to reopen club: ‘We will not let hate win’
The owner of the Pulse nightclub has spoken out about the attacks for the first time.
A place created to honour her late brother, Pulse was a gay club intended to be a “safe haven”.
Barbara Poma, the club’s owner, said in an emotional interview with NBC: “I can’t stop imagining what it was like. I don’t think I’ll ever stop.”
She opened the club as a tribute to her gay brother who died of AIDS related illness, as she described the club as a “safe fun place to come and be who you are, simple as that.”
Poma described the moment she found out about the shootings. The manager of the club phoned Poma up – it was a call she described as “the most surreal call” she ever received.
“When my manager called me, he just kept yelling into the phone ‘We have a shooter. We have a shooter.’” she said.
49 people died during Sunday’s attack, including one of Poma’s employee, KJ Morris.
The security guard was described as a “good fit for the family” by Poma. She had only been at the club for one month.
Poma says family was an important part of the club – which has been running since 13 years.
Since the club opened, the owner says she wanted to create a platform that reached out to the gay community in Orlando.
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During her interview, she said the families of the people who were now a part of the club’s family too, stressing the importance of keeping the “heartbeat and spirit alive”.
The future of the club is uncertain but for Poma, she wants to remember all the wonderful things that happened.
She did not speak about the gunman because “it’s important to never let hate win.”
The club was in honour of one soul that was lost and now there are 49 others that have lost their lives.
“It has to do with your heartbeat. Your life. You have to keep the heartbeat alive.”
Watch the full interview here: