ORLANDO, Fla. - The owner of the Pulse nightclub says she has made no decisions about the future of the gay club where 49 patrons were massacred by a gunman. But Barbara Poma says there definitely is a future for the nightclub.
Poma says it's premature to say what, when or how the future will play out. Poma spoke Thursday evening at a block party near downtown Orlando that she had put together for her staff, patrons and other people who wanted to support Pulse.
"They need that, as part of this grieving process and growing process, and I believe its important to all of us," Poma told FOX 35.
"It means the world, not only to me, but everybody involved," said Pulse employee Kate Maini. "It's just nice to see everybody come together and be so loving, supportive and giving. It absolutely means the world."
Maini has been bartending at Pulse since the day it opened 12 years ago. She watched the terror unfold. "I feel lucky, because I made it out of there with just minor scratches. You know, he came in and just started shooting all around us, and I hid under the bar and just waited for it to be over. The police came in, and it was the best sound I ever heard in my life... their voices."
Rainbow-colored balloons festooned Thornton Park's Washington Street. A stage was set up for a band and booths sold Pulse T-shirts, bracelets, raffle tickets, and drinks to help raise money for workers while the club is closed.
"A lot of us have families, we have children, a lot of us relied on this income," Maini said. "Some had other jobs, some didn't. The ones that didn't, it's incredible people can come together and give."