“Forty-nine beautiful faces for forty-nine beautiful lives that were mercilessly taken by hatred, power and gun violence,” said DeLaran, a musician and organizer of a Pulse Memorial in Gulfport on June 12.
It was the fifth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando that claimed the lives of 49 people and wounded 53 others, many of whom were part of the LGBTQ and Latinx communities. At 6:30 p.m. people gathered at the Tiki Bar and Grill for the service, then walked to Gulfport beach with 49 yellow, white and purple flowers.
“How can I really honor them? This was the sweetest way I could think of. Anybody who wanted to participate could be included in that. And release [the flowers] and just have that moment, honoring their lives,” DeLaran said. “Even though we didn’t know them, they could have been our brother, they could have been our sister. They could have been our fathers or cousins or best friends.”
After the flowers were distributed, each person picked the petals off the flowers and delicately dispersed them into the water. Silence swallowed the group as they watched the petals float.
“When we really, truly remove the fear – fear of others – and really see human beings and all living things, really as living beings who have personalities, they have hearts,” DeLaran said. “The last thing that we want to even think about doing is aiming a gun at another living being. A person who means something. Their life means something. The only thing standing between ourselves and love is fear.”