National die-in planned for anniversary of Pulse shooting
Activists are organising a dramatic die-in to commemorate the second anniversary of the Pulse massacre.
A total of 49 people were killed at Orlando’s Pulse gay club during the horrific mass shooting in June 2016 when gunman Omar Mateen, who had pledged support for ISIS, opened fire on the crowd.
At the time it was the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history, though it has since been surpassed.
The National Die-In will take place in Washington DC, at the National Mall, on June 12 – and with the help of Parkland survivors, organisers hope to attract as many as 100,000 participants.
One of the event’s founders, Orlando campaigner Amanda Fugleberg, lives 15 minutes from the site of the shooting. She said that the massacre had deeply shaken her.
“It was the first news I saw when I woke up that day and I remember the death toll just rising,” she told Advocate.
“It brought me to tears to know something like that happened so close.”
The die-in will last for 12 minutes, with each of the 720 seconds representing a victim who has died in a mass shooting since the Pulse massacre.
She has reached out to David Hogg, who has spoken out for better gun legislation in the wake of the Parkland shooting in February that left 17 dead.
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She said that Hogg, who recently led a successful die-in campaign against Publix over its support of a National Rifle Association-backed candidate for Governor, had expressed strong support for the event.
Survivors from Parkland and Pulse met each other earlier this year, in an emotional event which saw attendees stand together as the names of the 66 victims of both mass shootings were read aloud.
Fugleberg, who is arranging the die-in with fellow activist Frank Kravchuk, started planning it less than two weeks ago, in conjunction with a march on June 11 in Orlando led by Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf.
In the space of 10 days, the campaign has attracted more than 1,000 followers on Twitter, with attention on the event expected to ramp up in the coming days.
In terms of where she stands on gun control, Fugleberg said: “I’d like to see universal background checks, which right now are not great considering the Pulse shooter was able to acquire guns when he’d been on an FBI watch list.”