LGBTQ Faculty and Staff Association Colleagues:
The news of the tragedy in Colorado Springs Sunday morning has left me deeply sad and angry, feelings I know you share. My heart is with the people impacted by violence in Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community.
We also share a fierce awareness that this incident is not isolated from a movement of anti-LGBTQ extremism that exists in many forms across the country. The Club Q shooting follows a year of bomb threats and protests at drag events. Anti-LGBTQ proposals are flooding U.S. state legislators at a record pace. LGBTQ people – teachers, companies, politicians – face homophobic accusations of ‘grooming’ by right-wing agitators. Crimes of anti-LGBTQ bias and hate have increased in U.S. cities. I have no doubt in the coming days we will learn that the motive of the 22 year old young person who turned to violence was influenced by hateful rhetoric online and within right-wing media. Our grief is not unimaginable, but chronic as Colorado Springs mourns five lives and the erasure of a once safe and sacred space and as a larger LGBTQ+ community we are reminded again of the sharp impact of hate.
There is not one answer moving forward. Deep action is needed by our leaders to address safety and mental health care systems, gun regulation, hate speech and fake news in media, to name a few.
We also have to change hearts and minds. When violence occurs in the LGBTQ+ community, it is against the colleagues, neighbors, friends, and families of all of us. And it is our trans siblings and community members of color who are disproportionately impacted by violence.
If there is one thing our association can offer, it may be planning your next step:
Our FSA will continue to be a safe space for you. Your colleagues here share your feelings and we are here to offer you community and campus support. Our leadership team can be reached at email@example.com. As a reminder, if you or a loved one are experiencing a crisis, someone is always available to speak at Crisis Services, 24/7.
This week I will be thankful for you, your stories, and our UB community. I wish you peace and great healing.
With pride and love,