Friday, January 27

Cleveland LGBTQ+ community mourns and connects in wake of Colorado Springs shooting

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Just before midnight on November 19, a single gunman entered Club Q — an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado — and opened fire on a crowded room, wounding dozens.

Five people were shot and killed: Kelly Loving, 40, Raymond Green Vance, 22, Daniel Aston, 28, Derrick Rump, 38, and Ashley Paugh, 35.

The gunman, Anderson Lee Aldrich, was apprehended by police after patrons fought and disarmed him.

Aldrich is currently being held at El Paso County Jail on five counts of first-degree murder and bias crimes and is expected to face formal charges at a court hearing scheduled for December 6.

In the days since, the targeted shooting has sparked countless vigils, memorials and other community-centered events across the country.

In Cleveland, LGBTQ+ people and their allies gathered at the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland on Saturday to mourn and connect.

Executive director Phyllis Harris addressed a crowd of dozens alongside other community leaders.

“Your lives do matter,” she said. “It matters that you’re here right now.”

Ward 15 Councilmember Jenny Spencer also addressed the crowd, offering a reminder that systemic change occurs slowly, and across generations.

“I look around and what I see is love, but I know there’s anger,” she said. “If you’re feeling that anger right now, that’s okay too.”

Nickie Antonio — the first out LGBTQ+ individual to serve in the Ohio Senate — also reminded attendees of those intergenerational ties, calling for young LGBTQ+ leaders to step up both personally and politically.

“We must have the courage, strength and determination — even when we’re afraid — to go out there and push for change,” Antonio said. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” 🔥

Ignite Action:

  • Colorado Gives 365 is operating Club Q’s official donation portal. All funds raised via this platform are distributed through the Colorado Healing Fund. To learn more or make a donation, click here.

About Author

H.L. Comeriato is the staff writer for The Buckeye Flame. A queer and non-binary writer and reporter from Akron, Ohio, they covered public health for The Devil Strip via Report for America.

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