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Pensacola vigil memorializes victims of the Colorado LGBTQ nightclub shooting

Club Q (3).JPG
Hunter Morrison
/
WUWF Public Media
Victims of the Club Q shooting were memorialized during a vigil held in Pensacola on December 3.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 20, a gunman opened fire inside Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing five people and injuring 18 others. Those killed in the shooting were identified as Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, and Ashley Paugh.

In response to the shooting, Strive, a Pensacola-based advocacy group that serves the needs of transgender people, held a vigil at St. Paul Lutheran Church to commemorate the lives that were lost. Attendees of the vigil were given the opportunity to lay roses upon five empty seats, which honored each of the five people who were killed. Church bells also rang out five times in memory of the five lives that were lost.

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Jeff
Jeff talks about his reactions to the Club Q shooting and his hopes for the future.
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“[I was] saddened but not surprised. It always hurts when you see this type of loss, which is spurred by hate. Unfortunately, in the climate we live in, we can’t be surprised. We have a long way to go.”
Jeff
Eden
Eden shares her reactions to the Club Q shooting.
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“I want to say that I’m shocked, but I, unfortunately, wasn’t terribly shocked, I was really just heartbroken. We’ve heard a lot of hatred and threats towards the queer community in the past few years almost as a backlash to gaining rights, and I was afraid that it was only a matter of time before something like this happened again. Hearing about the individual stories of the people who lost their lives and were hurt at the shooting was very difficult and emotional to hear. I didn’t know them but I still grieved their stories.”
Eden
Ilan
Listen to Ilan share about the Club Q shooting.
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“I didn’t know these people, it’s on the other side of the country, but these people were like me. They were just minding their own business and having a good time. They did not expect something like this to happen to them. When someone like this who has a vendetta against us can come and hurt us like that, it weighs heavy.”
Ilan

Club Q (1).JPG
Hunter Morrison
/
WUWF Public Media
Devin
Strive President Devin shares their thoughts about the Club Q shooting and how the LGBTQ+ community moves forward.
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“Over the past several years, we’ve seen the rise in the rhetoric of homophobic and transphobic hate speech. In Colorado, we have fascists like Lauren Boebert who are actively peddling these things accusing LGBTQ people of having some sort of grand conspiracy to indoctrinate children, which is absolutely idiotic. It’s horrifying and infuriating, but it’s ultimately not surprising. I think a lot of us knew in the back of our heads that all of this rhetoric over the past several years was going to result in more physical violence, especially after Pulse. So many people felt more emboldened to attack us."
Devin Cole, president of Strive
Indigo
Indigo talks about the rise of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and what that means for the community.
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“For me, it just reminds us that there are still people out there who hate us. It still gives you that fear that no matter where you are, even if you’re in safe spaces like a club, you can still be violently attacked.”
Indigo
Brooke
Brooke shares her thoughts on the Club Q shooting.
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“I think it’s made me slightly more vigilant than I perhaps was before. It kind of made me sad because my mom was scared because I go to gay bars. At the same time, it just makes me want to live my life a little bit more loudly.”
Brooke
Lanie
Lanie talks about the Club Q shooting.
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“It’s made me more wary to visit communal queer spaces, but it has inspired me to celebrate this community and to fight even more fervently for rights and for acceptance, and to embrace the people who love me and love others in this community without reservation."
Eden

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Hunter Morrison
/
WUWF Public Media
C. David Newton speaks at the Club Q memorial.
“These gathering places offer so much more than just alcohol, or a dance, or even a makeout spot. They are sanctuaries, sacred places for sweet fellowship, and restoration of a queer soul. We must continue to have that kind of community.”
C. David Newton

Hunter joined WUWF in 2021 as a student reporter.