ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - An international movement has grown just from a simple roll of rainbow ribbon and box of pins.
The Orlando Ribbon Project aims to honor and remember the 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. As the one year anniversary of the tragic date approaches, the project is asking those in Orlando and beyond to wear one of their simple, yet profound rainbow ribbons in support on June 12th, 2017.
Founder Ben Johansen began the Orlando Ribbon Project immediately following the shooting in an effort to bring together the community and spread love and hope, one ribbon at a time. As his husband Tim Vargas, then President of the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida's Board of Directors, rushed to the Center that Sunday morning of the shooting, Ben headed to a nearby craft store and bought a roll of rainbow ribbon and a roll of black ribbon and a box of pins. He began making the ribbons for volunteers, but the requests began pouring in and the Orlando Ribbon Project was born.
Over 300,000 ribbons have been made since then and sent around the world in support of the victims of the Pulse shooting and the Orlando community. The movement is still growing, even involving celebrities like Alan Cuming, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chita Rivera, and the B-52's.
"The Pulse shooting may have taken place here in Orlando, but it was felt all over the world," says Johansen. "I feel that when people see the ribbon, not only do they remember what happened, but they smile in memory of those we lost. I believe there are more good people than bad out there. The Orlando Ribbon Project is about blanketing Orlando and the world with rainbow ribbons and spreading love and hope at the same time. We must never forget why we wear the rainbow ribbon. We must always remember The49 and we must also continue to fight for GLBTQ rights as human beings just like everyone else."
For the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, the Orlando Ribbon Project is asking local politicians, community leaders, television personalities, celebrities, and supports around the globe to don the rainbow ribbon in solidarity, support, and love.
Many are pledging their support for the project, even including Orlando Police Chief John Mina, who announced that the Orlando Police Department will be wearing the ribbons in support on June 12th.