Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2019

By : Watermark Staff
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What a remarkable year 2019 has been for the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

Whether it was in the field of politics, philanthropy, activism, entertainment or pageantry; there was no shortage of remarkable people for us to choose for Watermark’s annual list of the Most Remarkable People in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.

In honor of the year 2019, we choose 19 people across our readership area who were breaking records and blazing trails for the LGBTQ community. Once we selected our 19 Remarkables, we asked members of the community work know, work and admire each of them to write why they thought they were remarkable.

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Barbara Poma, CEO and Executive Director, onePULSE Foundation

By : Mark Cady-Archilla, Corporate Sponsorship Officer, onePULSE Foundation
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I met Barbara nearly 10 years ago when I was in advertising sales at Watermark to discuss advertising Pulse in one of the Pride guides we were publishing.

Though she is of small stature, when she walked into the room, in a dress and heels with her long wavy hair, she commanded attention which I soon came to understand was not because of her appearance, rather because of her confidence, sincerity and warmth.

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onePULSE Foundation receives $1 million donation from AdventHealth

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The onePULSE Foundation announced Dec. 11 that AdventHealth will be donating $1 million to the nonprofit to help in building the National Pulse Memorial & Museum.

The donation will also fund a healthcare-focused scholarship and assist in developing the museum’s educational curriculum.

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Pulse Memorial & Museum winning design selected

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The onePULSE Foundation announced the winning design team for the Pulse Memorial & Museum at the Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando Oct. 30.

The winning design team of Coldefy & Associés with RDAI, Orlando-based HHCP Architects, Xavier Veilhan, dUCKS scéno, Agence TER and Prof. Laila Farah was announced by Mayra Alvear—whose daughter, Amanda Alvear, was killed in the Pulse tragedy— and Pulse survivors Neema Bahrami and Brian Reagan.

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onePulse Foundation announces design finalists in national memorial and museum competition

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | The onePULSE Foundation released six potential designs for the National Pulse Memorial and Museum on Oct. 3.

Each of the six concept designs are available for the public to view at the Orange County Regional History Center, located at 65 E. Central Blvd. in downtown Orlando, or online via the accompanying digital exhibition at onePULSEFoundation.org.

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The Pride Chamber honors LGBTQ professionals, community leaders at the 2019 Pride in Business Awards Gala

By : Jeremy Williams
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The Pride Chamber, formerly known as MBA Orlando, recognized LGBTQ business professionals and community leaders at the 2019 Pride in Business Awards Gala, presented by Two Spirit Health, at Hard Rock Live at Universal’s CityWalk in Orlando Aug. 3.

Hosted by Spectrum News 13’s Eric Levy and the legendary Miss Sammy, the evening featured a VIP reception, live entertainment and an epic after party in CityWalk.

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The Other Side Of Life: Hashtag Amity

By : Jason LeClerc
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I was recently honored to be a guest of Pulse founder Barbara Poma for an intimate talk and tour of the interim #PulseMemorial organized by Equality Florida. As regular readers of this column know, I’m Watermark’s token conservative columnist: a red soul in a sea of blue, even as I have advocated for a just-right-of-center, nuanced approach to political discourse that I call Radical Centrism.

Arguing from a position of empathy and fact-driven rationality in favor of such positions as climate change resiliency, justifiable local taxation and the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, I have riled members of my own Party. In the age of Trump, I’ve become a bit of a #RINOsaur. While there are members of the current Republican power structure who are ready to revoke my membership card for some of my #RadicalCentrist positions, my attendance of an Equality Florida event would likely push them further toward apoplexy.

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Florida lawmakers call for Pulse to be named National Memorial Site

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Darren Soto (FL-09) and Val Demings (FL-10) announced they would like Congress to establish the Pulse nightclub as a federally recognized National Memorial Site.

Pulse owner Barbara Poma joined the Orlando-area representatives at a press conference held at the Pulse interim memorial June 10, two days before the three-year mark of the shooting.

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Central Florida-based web series to feature four local trans leaders

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | “Unapologetically Trans,” a new web series filmed in Central Florida and featuring four local transgender community leaders, was announced via social media on May 11.

Jordyn Victoria Laos, Holly Gramm, Ashley Figueroa and Nikole Parker will host the series “about life through trans eyes while in the pursuit of happiness.” The show will feature candid conversations with community members and allies about various topics.

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onePULSE Foundation’s Barbara Poma discusses the future of the Pulse memorial and museum

By : Jeremy Williams
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ABOVE: Barbara Poma speaks during the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy at the interim memorial. Photo by Maia Monet

ORLANDO | The onePULSE foundation announced March 25 that it is launching an international design competition challenging architects from around the world to create a unique and iconic National Pulse Memorial and Museum.

While the look of the final project will be left to the winning design team, the competition does layout three key elements that will be a part of the finished product: a memorial, a museum and pedestrian pathway known as “Survivors Walk.”

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Hard Rock partners with onePULSE Foundation for Taylor Dayne’s Velvet Sessions

By : Lauren Lee
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ORLANDO | Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando’s Velvet Sessions lobby concert will not only feature Grammy-nominated singer Taylor Dayne—who is responsible for 80s hits “Tell It to My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back” and “Prove Your Love”—on March 29, but will also benefit onePULSE Foundation.

A dollar from every ticket sold, along with all proceeds raised by the event’s silent auction, will go to onePULSE Foundation as they work towards building a Pulse museum and memorial honoring the 49 angels lost at the Pulse tragedy.

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Come Out With Pride announces intent to host WorldPride during Pulse 10-year mark

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | Come Out With Pride (COWP) announced in a press conference at The Venue Jan. 23 that they plan to bid to host WorldPride in Central Florida in 2026.

InterPride, an international organization that ties Pride together globally, brings WorldPride to major cities across the globe every two to six years. This year WorldPride will take place in New York City to coincide with the 50-year mark of the Stonewall riots. Several members from the COWP board will be in attendance at the event this June.

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