Dear Brookline Community,
Like you, we believe that every person in every community should be able to live full, joyous lives safe from prejudice and violence. But on Saturday night, an armed gunman entered Club Q, an LGBTQIA+ club and community haven in Colorado Springs. The gunman shot and killed 5 people and injured nearly 20 more before he was subdued by heroic patrons. That this horrific attack targeting members of the LGBTQIA+ community came one day before Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR)—a vigil started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to honor the life and memory of Rita Hester, a local transgender woman who was killed in Allston, MA—only compounds this pain.
This mass shooting took place nearly a week after a mass shooter at the University of Virginia killed three football players as they returned from a field trip to Washington D.C. And late last night, another mass shooting occurred at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, where an employee shot and killed at least six people before killing himself.
These attacks come at a time when we are grieving the local impact of violence in Boston, where recently 3 separate shootings happened in different Boston neighborhoods in the span of an hour. While the geographies of these acts of violence differs, we know that far too many marginalized communities such as queer communities, trans communities, and Black, Indigenous, and communities of Color (BIPOC) are vulnerable to multiple forms of violence based not only on personal prejudice but also institutional, systemic and historic inequities and injustice.
We are sad and grieving. Our hearts break for the victims, for their family and friends in unimaginable grief, and for the communities reeling from these attacks. BCF stands with LGBTQIA+ communities, the community of Colorado Springs, the University of Virginia community, the Chesapeake Bay community, the Brookline community, and communities across Boston and across the country in condemning these violent attacks. We join with the collective voices across the country in denouncing any and all forms of homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, prejudice, and violence.
At a time of year when many of us are preparing to spend time with loved ones, we at BCF support you in affirming and holding space for feelings of sadness, outrage, and grief during a time of year many of us look forward to with joy and excitement. And today, we join with millions of others across the country in raising awareness about how we can support local recovery and healing efforts led by organizations and groups in close proximity to those most deeply impacted. Deep community presence, knowledge, and trust is invaluable right now, and we want to highlight the following relief funds, organizations, and efforts doing this work locally:
Support the Colorado Springs Community:
- You can donate directly to the Colorado Healing Fund, which Club Q Colorado Springs shared on their Facebook page.
- Greg Resha, a former employee of Club Q has started a GoFundMe to raise funds for victims’ medical and funeral expenses.
- Good Judy Garage, an LGBTQ-owned auto repair shop in the Denver area, has set up a GoFundMe for funeral expenses, medical expenses and other expenses for families of those who were killed or injured by the gunman.
- Classroom of Compassion, an arts-focused nonprofit based in Los Angeles, is collecting donations to travel to Colorado and help build community altars and collective grieving spaces.
Support the University of Virginia Community:
- You can donate directly to the UVA Strong Fund, which was established by the UVA Alumni Association to honor and provide support to victims, families, and the UVA community.
- There are several GoFundMe fundraisers that have been organized by UVA community members to provide direct support to the victims, their families, and to the UVA community.
Support the Boston Community:
- Futures Without Violence is a health and social justice nonprofit dedicated to healing those harmed by violence while creating healthier, safer communities.
- The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute is a center of healing, teaching, and learning for families and communities impacted by murder, trauma, grief, and loss.
- Trinity Boston also has a comprehensive list of resources for addressing community violence.
As of this morning, we were unable to find any direct donation options to support on-the-ground efforts in Chesapeake, Virginia. However, we encourage you to look for opportunities to support in the coming days, and to check the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation’s website for updates and ways to support.
There are also incredible organizations, collectives, and community efforts dedicated to stopping violence in our communities, as well as supporting LGBTQIA+ community building in Boston and right here in Brookline. Learn more about some of the organizations BCF supports who are doing this work such as Camp Lightbulb and Breaktime that provide care and community for LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults and the Brookline Center, which provides responsive wrap-around services to support well-being and essential resources. And please reach out to us if our open grant programs can help support your efforts in creating a safer and more equitable Brookline.
We remain committed to supporting the Brookline community and all communities impacted by all forms of violence and discrimination. We are in this together, and we are here for the Brookline community today and always.