Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017

By : Watermark Staff
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In a year filled with many setbacks and obstacles, the LGBTQ communities in Central Florida and Tampa Bay have met those challenges with amazing resilience and resisted all forms of discrimination.

The individuals selected as Watermark’s Most Remarkable People of 2017 come from many walks of life but all share one thing in common, they all were truly exceptional this year.

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Watermark’s Most Remarkable People 2017: Pamela Schwartz, Orange County Regional History Center’s Chief Curator

By : Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Mayor
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Teresa Jacobs

It’s an honor and privilege to celebrate Pamela Schwartz as a 2017 “Remarkable Person.”

In the early hours after the Pulse Nightclub massacre, when we were reeling with anguish and disbelief from the brutal attack on our LGBTQ, Latinx and Hispanic communities and the unimaginable loss of 49 innocent souls, one person was already thinking about how we could help memorialize the staggering loss and remember the innocent victims. That was Pam Schwartz, who by the next day, had already outlined a plan for the collection and preservation of the tribute items that she knew would come.

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How the Orange County Regional History Center is helping preserve the memories from the Pulse shooting

By : Alma J. Hill
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It’s hard to wrap your mind around the Pulse massacre if you’ve lived in Orlando for any amount of time, but especially over the past year. On April 29, representatives from the Orange County Regional History Center – including executive director Michael Perkins and curator of exhibitions and collections Pamela Schwartz, among others – spoke to the difficulties of preserving the integrity and the heart of the tributes left outside of Pulse Orlando: the flowers, the candles, the messages and photographs.

If candles melted onto fabric, electric irons were employed to remove the wax. Dilapidated flowers, washed words, stuffed animals, so many pictures and flags and feelings had to be gathered to commemorate those who were killed in plain view, killed in a nightclub, killed for being LGBTQ or at least being friendly with those who were. It would be a delicate task of peeling photos from frames, flowers from vases and quilts from fences.

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