June 26 (UPI) — President Joe Biden on Friday signed a law designating the site of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., as a national memorial to ensure “that this isn’t forgotten.”
He signed the legislation during a White House ceremony flanked by lawmakers, survivors of the shooting and LGBTQ+ leaders.
A place of acceptance and joy became a place of unspeakable pain and loss,” Biden said of the Pulse nightclub. “We’ll never fully recover, but we’ll remember.”
The legislation comes two weeks after the five-year anniversary of the shooting at the former gay nightclub, which left 49 victims dead. June also marks Pride month, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall riots and celebrating LGBTQ communities.
Biden said the legislation represents the “absolute determination that we’re going to deal with this every single and solitary day.”
“Their memory and the countless others forever scarred is why I sign this today,” he added.
The new legislation states that while the Pulse Memorial will be designated as a national site, it will not be part of the National Park System, and it will not make use of federal funds.
Commissioners in Florida’s Orange County approved $10 million in funding through this year to help the non-profit onePULSE Foundation purchase land around the nightclub to construct a memorial and museum.
Also Friday, Biden named Jessica Stern to be the U.S. special envoy to advance the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons at the State Department. Stern is the executive director of OutRight Action International and has worked with the United Nations to ensure human rights globally.