Architecture & Design

Miami Beach Pride Plans City-Wide Light Show Honoring Orlando Shooting Victims

Miami Beach's Pride Parade in 2016.
Miami Beach's Pride Parade in 2016. Stephen R. Lang, Mark's List
Saturday, June 12, 2016, was a tragic day for the LGBTQ community worldwide. Forty-nine people were killed during Latin Night at Pulse, a gay nightclub and bar in Orlando, in the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. As one year since the massacre approaches, the Miami LGBTQ community is doing its part to honor the victims with a poignant city-wide installation, Pride Lights the Night.

April 7 through 9, dozens of buildings and structures in Miami and Miami Beach will light up in the colors of the rainbow. The buildings include landmarks such as the American Airlines Arena, the Freedom Tower, the Wolfsonian, Donna E. Shalala Student Center at the University of Miami, Faena Hotel Miami Beach, and Miami Beach City Hall. Other buildings continue to be added to the list. Participating buildings unable to accommodate the projection will wave the rainbow flag in commemoration of the fallen.

Scott Bader, the board secretary of Miami Beach Gay Pride, who came up with the installation’s idea, says, “Light is a very powerful symbol... Light can be love, hope, remembrance. The original thought was a night light, which provides a child with security and safety. It has a powerful meaning for me personally.”

The installation will launch April 6 when Pulse shooting survivor Mario Perez will "flip the switch" on the corner of Lincoln Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, lighting up the façades of 407 and 1111 Lincoln Rd. The 3D projection of lights will contain text communicating the installation's memorial intentions.

“We wanted to create something meaningful for the brothers and sisters we lost at Pulse... There won’t be a neighbor or a stranger who won’t be aware of this tribute and be touched by this showing of unity,” Mark Fernandes, Pride’s board chairman, said in a release.

The event coincides with the Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival and Parade, which consists of a series of parties, musical performances, and the famed march on Ocean Drive. Pride Lights the Night will function as a peaceful memorial to the victims of Pulse during a traditionally glamorous, fun, and exciting weekend.

“[Pride Lights the Night] is about solidarity, unification, and visibility," Bader says. "It gives an awareness that our community is here and that we have a lot of support.”

“Flip the Switch”
8 p.m. Thursday, April 6, on the corner of Lincoln Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, Miami Beach. Visit Miami Beach Gay Pride’s website.

Pride Lights the Night
Buildings lit April 7 through 9 in various locations around Miami and Miami Beach. Visit the map to see participating buildings.
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Minhae Shim Roth is an essayist, journalist, and academic.
Contact: Minhae Shim Roth