Hundreds of people marked the mass shooting in Colorado Springs with a vigil Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis, and heard speakers both offer comfort and decry the violence that claimed more lives and affects LGBTQ people regularly.
People mourned the killing of five and the shooting and injuring of 17 more at Club Q earlier this week. A person has been charged with murder and hate crimes.
Outside The Saloon, a gay club on Hennepin Avenue, manager Bobby Palmer grew angry as he spoke.
"I don't know what to say because words haven't been enough for a long time. Thoughts and prayers have equated to nothing despite national attention, I know that we will see minimal work done in regards to gun violence, in regards to anti-queer rhetoric. And we find ourselves faced with the need to keep each other safe," Palmer said.
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Minneapolis resident Jack O'Shaughnessy, 29, said the message that the community has to protect themselves and each other resonated with them. They attended the vigil alone and felt welcomed by people they didn’t know. But O’Shaughnessy said the Club Q tragedy reminded them of the danger they feel.
“How long do I have to feel scared to be with my partner in public?" O’Shaughnessy said, as they added, “It’s why I live in Minneapolis because it’s very queer. But I’m always very quickly reminded when I leave like 20 minutes outside the city of it’s not always OK to be what I look like.”
Minneapolis City Council President Andrea Jenkins also spoke at the vigil. She said as LGBTQ people are experiencing targeted violence, they also are being elected to higher offices in the Minnesota Legislature and across the country.
But the first openly trans woman to be elected to the council said the holidays can be difficult even in families that are accepting.
“It’s really challenging to be home and to be in situations where your partner may not be welcome or if they are, there are all these weird questions,” Jenkins said. “I really wanted to come out tonight and say what I said. I love you and I really want to stand in solidarity with you."