Gov. Phil Murphy and Attorney General Matthew Platkin held a conference call with LGBTQ+ leaders the morning of Nov. 22 and provided clear communication on New Jersey’s official response to the mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub, in Colorado Springs, Colo., according to the LGBTQ+ advocacy and education non-profit organization Garden State Equality.
On the night of Saturday, November 19, at least five people were killed and at least 25 injured at Club Q. The shooting came the night before Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance dedicated to honoring the memories of people who were killed due to anti-transgender violence in the previous year.
Murphy and Platkin emphasized that based on official intelligence there are no similar active threats in New Jersey, but said they will direct law enforcement resources to be extremely vigilant.
They also confirmed law enforcement resources were deployed yesterday to Transgender Day of Rememberance events throughout the state and LGBTQ+ bars and nightclubs.
Garden State Equality said the Governor ended his remarks by affirming that, “New Jersey will continue to celebrate and protect the LGBTQ community and we will never, ever, ever relent.”
LGBTQ+ leaders from across the state of New Jersey shared their reactions and calls to action in response to this act of violence. This included Executive Director of Garden State Equality Christian Fuscarino and Garden State Equality Action Fund Board Chair Jeannine Frisby LaRue.
“It is time for us to get past the sad and shocking emojis and telling the LGBTQI+ community how horrific these hate crimes are and they’re with us,” said LaRue. “It is way overdue for everyone who believes in civil rights and social justice to call out this despicable act from their pulpits, boardrooms, social media platforms and the like. These heinous acts are not LGBTQI+ issues; they’re humanitarian issues. We need everyone to step up.”
“We are heartbroken to learn of another senseless attack against our community—on the eve of a day we remember all those in our trans community who have lost their lives to violence, no less,” said Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality. “It is a stark reminder that despite the progress the LGBTQ+ community has made, the threat of discrimination and violence against us just for being who we are is still very real. Garden State Equality will continue to work towards a world where people can live authentically without fear.”
From Hudson County, Executive Director of Hudson Pride Center Elizabeth Schedl also condemned the attack. Her sentiment was shared by other LGBTQ+ leaders across the state.
“Like everyone, we at Hudson Pride Center are devastated to learn about the horrific attack that has taken place at Club Q,” said Schedl. “We deserve to feel safe, we deserve to feel loved, we deserve to feel accepted, and we deserve to live our lives fully without fear of being attacked for being our authentic selves. Hudson Pride stands with and mourns together with our LGBTQ+ community and all those affected by this tragedy.”
Other LGBTQ+ leaders spoke out after mass shooting in Colorado
“We at Out Montclair are disgusted and sad to hear about yet another attack on an LGBTQ+ establishment, where innocent lives have been lost,” said Peter Yacobellis of Out Montclair. “Because we believe that being ourselves and being heard is the only way we’ll ever truly be understood, we’ll never stop gathering and finding the community we desperately need. Thank you to all of our allies for supporting us.”
“Hyacinth is devastated by the loss of lives in Colorado Springs last evening, particularly as the LGBTQ communities come together today for our annual Transgender Day of Remembrance,” said Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, Executive Director of Hyacinth AIDS Foundation. “Today is a day of mourning and we hold in our hearts all those affected by this tragedy. We cannot allow hate to 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 hurt and massacred at Club Q,” said Elaine Helms, founder & executive director 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,” said Gordon Sauer, president of GAAMC. “Our hearts go out to those who were affected by this hideous violence. As LGBTQ + people we have a right to be who we are and to not live in fear. And we will fight for that right with all our hearts. Hate will not win.”
“The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice condemns this act of hate and violence directed towards our LGBTQ+ community members and our precious and increasingly endangered safe spaces,” said Alia Shinbrough, minister for Queer Liberation at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. “As intersectional social justice workers, we hold responsible anyone capitalizing on this politics of hatred and stoking political violence in our collective public life— including those who scapegoat and target our neighbors over differences in race, religion, sexuality, and gender to propel their own ambitions. Tragedies like these remind us of the vitality of our Center’s work for collective liberation—we extend our solidarity and uplift our care to all those in our beautifully diverse communities who are in need of recognition, respect, and indeed love—in this difficult moment and beyond.”
“As we increase our visibility & representation and deepen our equality, the assaults against our very existence intensify centered on our transgender and non-binary community,” said Dean Dafis, mayor of Maplewood. “The LGBTQ mass casualties in Colorado Springs were caused by unfettered access to guns and by hate stoked by right wing white supremacists who remain our nation’s greatest threat. While we mourn our losses yet again on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we stand up against gun violence and transphobia and commit to fighting back with resilience, love, and faith in building empathy and acceptance. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families.”
“We at HiTOPS are brokenhearted, both for the victims of these crimes, and for the youth who witness this deadly violence against LGBTQ+ folks with shocking regularity,” said Lisa Shelby, Executive Director of HiTOPS. “We call upon elected representatives at every level to denounce the hate that underlies these horrific actions.”
“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 if we stop loving one another, everyone, even in our own communities.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.