Barbara Poma, owner of the Orlando gay
nightclub Pulse, on Friday addressed a Pride rally in lower
“I'm here today because I want you to
know that Orlando and the world's gay community are strong and
united,” Poma told the crowd gathered at Pier 26. “We will not
allow evil to prevail.”
As Poma spoke, video screens flashed
pictures of the 49 people who died at the nightclub when a lone
gunman opened fire. Dozens more were wounded.
“Today, we must also use this as an
opportunity to comfort one another,” she added. “To offer our
love to the beautiful souls we lost.”
More than 1.6 million people are
expected to attend Sunday's New York City Pride parade, which Poma
will help lead.