49 white doves were released during the Rose Parade yesterday, in memory of the 49 people who were killed during the Pulse club massacre.
On June 12 last year, 49 people lost their lives at the Pulse gay club in Orlando, in the worst mass shooting in recent US history. The victims were disproportionately LGBT and Latino.
The innocent victims were honoured yesterday in the annual New Year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena.
A float was commissioned by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Impulse Group United in memory of the victims, dedicated to LGBT equality.
Titled ‘To Honor and Remember Orlando’, the float was decorated with stars and two giant rainbows, as well as a large dove of peace and a ‘tree of life’.
Survivors of the attack Jahqui Sevilla, Victor Baez Febo and Isaiah Henderson, rode on the float, to cheers from the crowd. They were joined by representatives from the local LGBT community and Barbara Poma, the owner of the Pulse nightclub.
Twice during the parade, 49 live doves were released from the parade in memory of the victims.
Impulse Group Orlando’s Corey Lyons said: “It [is] a privilege to take part in this Rose Parade float honoring the dead, the wounded, the survivors and the family members left behind after the Orlando tragedy.
“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that this beautiful float also serves as a solemn and sacred reminder to millions of parade viewers around the world that the stigma and discrimination that led to this attack are not over – the fight goes on, and we must be vigilant in speaking out and speaking out against such bigotry, hatred and injustice.”