ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A special lighting ceremony was held at the University of Central Florida on Monday evening honoring the lives taken during the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting. Sunday marks the sixth anniversary of the Pulse tragedy.
The ceremony was held at UCF’s Reflecting Pond, during which the names of the 49 victims were read aloud by student ambassadors. Speakers included Pulse owner and founder of the onePulse Foundation Barbara Poma, UCF alumnus and State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, and UCF President Alexander Cartwright.
"This year feels, it feels really different. I don’t know if it’s because of what’s been happening the last two weeks," Poma told FOX 35 News, alluding to the mass shootings in California, New York, and Texas. "It just feels… it’s just a tough year."
The lighting ceremony culminated in the lighting of Millican Hall which was illuminated in the pride rainbow colors. In addition to Millican Hall, the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons (DPAC) at UCF Downtown will also be illuminated. Both of the buildings will be lighted until the morning of Monday, June 13.
UCF student Juan Ramon Guerrero and two-time alumnus Christopher Andrew "Drew" Leinonen were among the victims at Pulse. The two are featured on a mural located on the exterior of the UCF Student Union, created in 2017 in collaboration with their families.
A blood drive will take place on Wednesday, June 8, outside the UCF Student Union, 12715 Pegasus Drive. It is being hosted by the UCF Police Department (UCFPD) and OneBlood and will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.