January 23, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Most Beautiful Float: Orlando’s Pulse nightclub survivors and victims honored at Rose Parade

15777033_10154970567281151_5631433044097484713_oBY TROY MASTERS  |  The 128th Rose Parade float that honored survivors and victims of the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando was awarded the Lathrop K. Leishman Trophy for most-beautiful noncommercial float.

The float was the entry of Los Angeles based AIDS Healthcare Foundation and was entitled “To Honor And Remember Orlando.” It was one of about 40 floats in this year’s parade.

Survivor Jahqui Emily Sevilla (left)
Survivor Jahqui Emily Sevilla (left)
15665888_10154926159326151_6754173525502497856_n
Survivor Isaiah Henderson (left) was with his mother, Brenda Lee Marquez, at Pulse nightclub celebrating the Puerto Rican Day Parade happening in New York when shots rang out. He survived, but his mother died.
15589608_10154926173031151_4005693347268488340_n
Survivor Victor Alberto Baez Febo

Three survivors of the June 12 shooting, which left 49 dead and at least 68 others injured, rode on the float along with Barbara Poma, co-owner of the nightclub, and Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

Other riders — who had aided in Orlando’s healing and recovery — included  HIV counselor Joel Morales, and Impulse Group Orlando’s Corey Lyons and Gustavo Marrero.

A large white dove and 49 white stars covered in coconut hovered above a bed of 15,000 red roses. Everything on the float was made of or covered in flowers, seeds or plants, including the chairs and stools, which are covered in crushed parsley.

A set of rainbows stretched from one end of the float near a large oak tree, where messages of condolence hang, to the front, which displays the words, “To Honor & Remember Orlando.”

“It’s bittersweet because I think we’d all rather be focusing on another topic, but this is our way of honoring the lives we lost along with sending a message of resilience and that we’re going to continue to fight homophobia that could have contributed to this massacre,” said Ged Kenslea, a spokesman for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

15776878_10154970567496151_8568111165139522601_o

Cory Lions, who heads the Orlando chapter of AHF affiliate Impulse Group United, said his group goes into clubs and bars to give HIV tests and hand out condoms. Pulse was one of the group’s partners, so they wanted to help with the float to remember those lost.

“I think it helps show that we’re going to continue to move forward and there’s life after this awful tragedy,” said Lions. “The float will bring this back to the forefront of the national stage to show this could have happened in any city because discrimination is everywhere.”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation sees the parade as an opportunity to reach a large audience about the importance of LBGTQ acceptance and AIDS prevention.

“The Pulse shooting was the first time on a national level there was a coming together to express widespread outrage and condolence for the LGBT community. It brought us all together and there was a feeling of acceptance. We want to remember that and prevent … the hatred that inspired this attack,” Kenslea said.

Olympic medalist and HIV positive gay man Greg Louganis, along with fellow Olympians Janet Evans and Allyson Felix served as a 2016 grand marshal. It was the first time an out gay person has been so honored.
Olympic medalist and HIV positive gay man Greg Louganis, along with fellow Olympians Janet Evans and Allyson Felix served as a 2016 grand marshal. It was the first time an out gay person or person with HIV has been so honored.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation is also hoping to raise money for those affected by the Pulse shooting and to help other LGBT causes. Viewers are encouraged to donate, text ONELOVE to 74121.

The 5.5-mile march is usually held on January 1, yet a “never on a Sunday” tradition postponed the festivities one day this year.

Not too many years ago, AIDS activists from ACT-UP protested the parade and brought it to a stop in a bid to draw national attention to the AIDS crisis.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation is largest specialized provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the the U.S. and provides access to the latest HIV treatments to all who need them regardless of ability to pay.

The Rose Parade was presented by Honda and this year’s theme was “Echoes of Success.”

 

Related Posts

GUEST COLUMN: Queer Mindfulness Meditation

January 22, 2020

January 22, 2020

InsightLA is a non-profit meditation center offering practices of mindfulness and compassion that are both secular and Buddhist in origin. ...

Honoring Gay Rights & Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin

January 21, 2020

January 21, 2020

On this day in history 67 years ago, gay civil rights organizer Bayard Rustin was arrested on a discriminatory, anti-gay...

New CA Bill to End the Epidemics of HIV, Hepatitis C and Other STDs in LGBTQ+ Community

January 18, 2020

January 18, 2020

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) recently introduced a bill that would require state agencies to create and enforce a master...

WeHo Dodgeball at the Sin City Classic LGBTQ+ Sports Festival

January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

Hosted annually by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association (GLASA), Sin City Classic brings together the United State’s finest athletes for a...

LONG BEACH PRIDE Unveils New Logo, Drops “Lesbian & Gay” From Name

January 16, 2020

January 16, 2020

Formerly known as  the Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride, the new and improved Long Beach Pride – the organization...

VIDEO: Grand Opening of Los Angeles LGBT Center’s New Campus in South LA

January 15, 2020

January 15, 2020

‘Center South’ will provide HIV testing; access to PrEP and PEP services; housing case management; mental health services; a computer lab; and...

Craigslist Man Extorts Angelinos, Santa Monicans with Gay Sex, Pleads Guilty

January 10, 2020

January 10, 2020

Tyler Buchanan faces 10 years in federal prison By Sam Catanzaro A man has pleaded guilty to using Craigslist, among...

Honoring Timothy Dean One Year Later

January 8, 2020

January 8, 2020

An intimate gathering was held Tuesday, Jan. 7 at West Hollywood Park to honor the 1-year anniversary of 55-year-old fashion...

LGBTQ+ Ally Taylor Swift to Receive GLAAD’s Vanguard Award

January 7, 2020

January 7, 2020

GLAAD announced Tuesday, Jan. 7 that Taylor Swift with receive the Vanguard Award at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. ...

Three CA Bills for the LGBTQ+ Community to Keep An Eye On

January 6, 2020

January 6, 2020

Three key pieces of California legislation that were tabled last year for various reasons will see the floor in 2020. ...

New LGBT Center to Serve Community in South LA

January 1, 2020

January 1, 2020

The Los Angeles LGBT Center will be growing yet again.  On January 11, the Center will open its south campus...

Top 12 Pride LA Stories of 2019

December 31, 2019

December 31, 2019

As this year quickly comes to a close, we begin to reflect. Where we were, how far we’ve come. We...

TRAVEL REVIEW: LGBTQ+ Family Vacation: Holiday Edition – Las Vegas

December 21, 2019

December 21, 2019

This column is the second in a reoccurring series about LGBTQ+ family travel. For a preview of this travel column,...

West Hollywood, Long Beach Earn Top Marks in 2019 Equality Index

December 20, 2019

December 20, 2019

2019 was a great year for the LGBTQ+ communities in West Hollywood and Long Beach.  Both cities earned a score...

LGBT Center to Host Viewing Party for Tonight’s 2020 Democratic Debate

December 19, 2019

December 19, 2019

No sure where to watch the chaos of the next 2020 Democratic Candidate debate? The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s got...