New Jersey LGBTQ+ leaders comment on Club Q shooting

New Jersey LGBTQ+ leaders comment on Club Q shooting

At least five people were killed and at least 25 injured in a mass shooting Saturday night at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs. The shooting took place the night before Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual celebration dedicated to remembering people killed as a result of transgender violence in the previous year.

The governor and attorney general held a conference call with LGBTQ+ leaders this morning to ensure clear communication on the state’s response. They stressed that there were no similar active threats in New Jersey based on their intelligence, but would provide law enforcement with resources to be extremely vigilant. They confirmed law enforcement was deployed to Transgender Day Remembrance events across the state and LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs yesterday. The governor ended his remarks by acknowledging that “New Jersey will continue to celebrate and protect the LGBTQ community and we will never back down.”

LGBTQ+ leaders from across the state of New Jersey shared their reactions and calls to action in response to this act of violence.

“It’s time for us to put the sad and shocking emoji behind us and tell the LGBTQI+ community how horrific these hate crimes are and that they are with us,” he said Jeannine Frisby LaRue, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Garden State Equality Action Fund. “It is long overdue for all who believe in civil rights and social justice to cry out these heinous acts from their pulpits, boardrooms, social media platforms and the like. These heinous acts are not LGBTQI+ issues; they are humanitarian issues. We need everyone to level up.”

“We are heartbroken to learn of yet another senseless attack on our community – on the eve of one day we commemorate all those in our trans community who have lost their lives to violence no less,” he said Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality. “It’s a stark reminder that despite the strides the LGBTQ+ community has made, the threat of discrimination and violence against us for simply being who we are is still very real. Garden State Equality will continue to strive for a world where people can live authentically without fear.”

“At Out Montclair, we are disgusted and saddened to hear of yet another attack on an LGBTQ+ establishment that has left innocent lives,” he said Out Montclair’s Peter Yacobellis. “Because we believe that only we can be ourselves and be heard will we ever truly be understood, and we will never stop gathering together and finding the community we desperately need. Thank you to all our allies who support us.”

“Like everyone else, we at the Hudson Pride Center are devastated to learn of the horrific attack that took place at Club Q,” he said Elizabeth Schedl, executive director of the Hudson Pride Center. “We deserve to feel safe, we deserve to feel loved, we deserve to feel accepted and we deserve to live our lives to the fullest without fear of being attacked, because we are our authentic selves. Hudson Pride stands and mourns with our LGBTQ+ community and everyone affected by this tragedy.”

“Hyacinth is devastated by the loss of life in Colorado Springs last night, especially as the LGBTQ communities gather today for our annual transgender memorial day,” he said Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, executive director of the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. “Today is a day of mourning and we carry in our hearts all those affected by this tragedy. We can’t let hate win; We will continue to fight for our right to live our lives openly, honestly and safely.”

“We at the LGBT RAIN Foundation send our prayers and support to the LGBTQ community, the families of the injured and massacres at Club Q,” he said Elaine Helms, Founder and CEO of the LGBT RAIN Foundation. “May God bless the state of Colorado.”

“We at GAAMC are shocked and devastated by the vicious attack in Colorado Springs,” he said Gordon Sauer, President of the GAAMC. “Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by this heinous violence. As LGBTQ+ people, we have a right to be who we are and not live in fear. And we will fight for it with all our hearts. Hatred won’t win.”

“The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice condemns this act of hate and violence against our LGBTQ+ community members and our precious and increasingly vulnerable safe spaces,” he said Alia Shinbrough, Secretary of Queer Liberation at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. “As intersectional social justice workers, we hold everyone accountable who capitalizes on these politics of hate and fuels political violence in our collective public life – including those who scapegoat our neighbors because of differences in race, religion, sexuality and gender and target to advance their own ambitions. Tragedies like these remind us of the vitality of our Center for Collective Liberation’s work – extending our solidarity and uplifting our caring for all those in our wonderfully diverse communities who need recognition, respect and indeed love – in this difficult moment and beyond .”

“As we increase our visibility and representation and deepen our equality, attacks on our existence, centered on our transgender and non-binary community, intensify,” he said Dean Dafis, Mayor of Maplewood, NJ. “The LGBTQ mass casualties in Colorado Springs were caused by unfettered access to guns and hatred fueled by right-wing white supremacists, who remain our nation’s greatest threat. As we once again mourn our losses on this Transgender Memorial Day, we stand up against gun violence and transphobia and commit to fighting back with resilience, love and trust to build empathy and acceptance. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims.”

“We at HiTOPS are heartbroken, both for the victims of these crimes and for the youth who are witnessing this deadly violence against LGBTQ+ people with shocking regularity,” he said Lisa Shelby, Managing Director of HiTOPS. “We call on elected officials at all levels to denounce the hatred that underlies these horrific acts.”

“NJ AIDS WALK, Inc. stands with our sisters and brothers in Colorado, said Ray Welsh, President of NJ AIDS WALK, Inc. “Acts of violence can only win when we stop loving each other, everyone, even in our own communities.”

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