On Saturday, Nov. 19, as patrons were enjoying themselves at Club Q in Colorado Springs, a lone gunman launched an unspeakable assault that killed five people and caused injury to approximately 25. Club Q is known as a safe space for the Colorado Springs LGBTQIA+ community.
While the Colorado Springs Police Department is continuing their investigation and working to gather a motive for the attack, it is safe to say that unleashing such an attack on innocent people is indeed an expression of hatred. There is no way to prepare yourself for such a tragedy and this certainly hits very close to home for so many within our community. There is also no rational explanation for such an attack, and our hearts go out to the families of those who were injured or murdered in this senseless attack.
As the Town of Erie stands with the victims and their families in the wake of this tragedy, we offer the porch of Town Hall (645 Holbrook Street) as a makeshift memorial area for anyone who would like to leave notes, flowers, or other materials to express their grief and support. We also provide this space as a space for any community members who may wish for gathering to reflect and just be together. Anyone who wishes to do so this evening, Monday, Nov. 21, is welcome to gather anytime between 5-7 p.m.
Following a request from Governor Jared Polis, we have lowered our American flag at Town Hall to half staff and added the Pride flag below it as an expression of support for the ability to live and love without fear of violence or discrimination.
From DEI Manager Alberto De Los Rios:
On Saturday, Nov. 19 just before midnight, five people were killed and many more injured at Club Q in Colorado Springs, a well-known gathering spot for the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Writing this reflection reminds me of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. I live just a few hours north of this latest act of violence, and during the Pulse Nightclub shooting, I lived just a few hours away in Florida.
As much as this event pains me, I am not shocked. LGBTQIA2S+ people have, and continue to, experience staggering amounts of violence every day. Our lives and rights are in jeopardy by the hands of people who live in ignorance and fear because we choose to live with authenticity and courage. The loss of life on Saturday is not siloed.
November 20 was also Trans Day of Remembrance, a time to remember the loss of life and violence that the Trans community—especially trans women of color—experience every day. Trans Day of Remembrance also calls to action as we continue to see the loss of life due to bigotry across the country. In 2022, the LGTBTQIA2S+ community has endured the following:
- More than 300 anti LGBTQIA+ bills have been proposed across states that threaten our right to exist, our access healthcare, support for youth, and the ability to be seen as equal citizens.
- At least 32 trans women have been killed this year, with 81% being trans women of color. In 10 years, more than 300 trans lives have been lost to violence. Last year, 47 trans women were killed.
- LGBTQIA2S+ teens have twice as much the risk of suicide than any other youth, especially cis and trans youth of color.
- 28% of LGBTQIA2S+ youth have experienced homelessness, and are more susceptible to suicide, self-harm, substance abuse, and violence.
- One in 10 employees identifying as LGBTQIA2S+ experience workplace discrimination, and half experience workplace bias and unfair treatment.
The statistics continue... showing that our community, especially people of color, are not equal in the eyes of society and the law. Our life outcomes are inequitable because a system continues to deny our right to be humans.
As grim as it looks, change can happen, and has happened because of the tireless work of activists and accomplices. I invite you to not just be an ally, be an accomplice; someone who knows the path to make someone's life more equitable is not easy, and there will be resistance, but you carry on and fight for what is important.
The way to make change is to stop anti-LGTBQIA2S+ bills from going forward, doing your own research, and becoming informed about LGBTQIA2S+ history and efforts, supporting LGBTQIA2S+ people in your communities by standing up against hate and actively stopping inequities from going forward. If you see or hear something, don’t be a bystander, interrupt ignorance and hate speech.
At the Town of Erie, we do not tolerate hate and bigotry. It is our mission to provide equitable services to our community, and work to undo systemic oppression that yield disparate life outcomes across diverse demographics such as race, gender, gender/sexual identity, physical/mental ability, and ethnicity. You can reach out to me at email@example.com with any questions or if you need someone to talk with. If you know a friend or loved one in need of mental health services, OUT Boulder County provides accessible and affordable LGBTQIA2S+ mental health support.