Ricky Martin has been named the national spokesperson for the onePulse Foundation that’s building a memorial and museum to honor the 49 victims who were massacred inside a gay Orlando, Florida nightclub.
Martin, who identifies as gay, and the foundation have launched a fundraising campaign with a goal of $49 million. The donations will go toward building a permanent National Pulse Memorial & Museum, educational programs, community outreach and 49 legacy scholarships, foundation officials said in a statement.
Martin, who will make public service announcements promoting tolerance, recently paid his respects at the Pulse Memorial at the Pulse nightclub, officials said.
“I’m excited to assist onePULSE Foundation with engagement and awareness-building opportunities as they build the National Pulse Memorial and Museum,” Martin said in the statement.
Martin’s involvement is especially poignant because many of Pulse shooting victims were part of the Latino and Puerto Rican LGBTQ communities. The date of the fatal shooting, the club had hosted its regular gay Latino night.
Martin and the foundation kicked off their partnership on Valentine’s Day with the OUTLOVE HATE campaign whose goal is to have 1 million people donate $49.
“We are thrilled to have one of the best-selling international music artists of all time join our Pulse family as a national spokesperson,” Earl Crittenden, onePULSE Foundation board chair, said in a statement. “His global platform allows us to share our mission with even more audiences, ensuring Pulse’s legacy of love lives on forever.”
The Pulse shooting, which took place June 12, 2016, is the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTQ people in United States’ history. Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, opened fire at Pulse nightclub, spraying the interior with bullets.
When the gunshots finally stopped, more than three hours later, 20 victims were dead on the blood soaked dance floor and 13 were killed in the bathrooms while waiting for medical help, among other fatalities.
Also, 11 people died after being taken to area hospitals. Another 68 people were injured during the shooting.
Pulse survivors Brian Reagan and Milan D’Marco attended and were honored at the Long Beach Pride Parade in 2017.