At least two churches in California have signified their solidarity with the five individuals who died during an armed attack at Club Q, a Colorado LGBTQ+ nightclub on Nov. 19.
A report by Monterey County Weekly identified the churches as Epiphany Lutheran & Episcopal Church in Monterey and Marina United Methodist Church in Marina, Calif.
'One With the Club Q Victims'
For its part, the Epiphany Lutheran & Episcopal Church, led by Pastor Jon Perez, chose to forego all AA meetings on Nov. 21, Monday, so the venue could accommodate community members who wanted to honor the Club Q victims.
The news outlet bared that some 80 residents entered the church premises around 6 p.m. They were there to grieve for the lives lost in one of the most recent mass shootings targeting LGBTQ+ individuals.
The Epicenter, Salinas Valley Pride Celebrations, and Monterey Peninsula Pride co-organized the event with Pastor Perez.
"We don't always align, but tonight, we are one family," Monterey County Weekly quoted Pastor Jon saying.
The report said Tyller Williamson, the Mayor-elect of Monterey, led the roster of local political personalities who spoke during the event. Lisa Berkley and Alexis Garcia-Arrazola, city council members of Marina and Seaside, respectively, joined Mayor Williamson.
Anthony Rocha, a council member for Salinas City, and County Supervisor Chris Lopez also delivered a speech as with Tina Nieto, the sheriff-elect of Monterey County.
"It fills my heart to see so many faces. This is not something we can accept. This is a perfect example of the challenges the LGBTQ community is facing. We are going to stand together," Williamson, who is set to become Monterey's first openly gay local chief executive, said during the gathering.
Meanwhile, Nieto will become Monterey County's first openly gay sheriff. She said in her speech that the hatred directed towards LGBTQ+ people "needs to stop."
Accordingly, García-Arrazola expressed her "fear for many who are not here today." The council member explained that LGBTQ+ individuals feel "afraid to come out because things like [the shooting] happen."
"Monterey County belongs to all of us. This county is for all of us," County Supervisor Lopez told the others at the event. He also thanked everyone who went to the Epiphany Lutheran & Episcopal Church gathering, which he called a "space of healing."
Other Messages of Solidarity
Other attendees shared their messages of solidarity with the Club Q victims.
The Epicenter's Sam Gomez mentioned the names of the five who died at the club. John Laird, an openly gay Democratic State Senator, also weighed in on the recent gender violence.
"It's just so sad, so outrageous that people who chose to freely assemble were murdered. What is doubly shocking is that the shooter was a grandson of a member of the California State Legislature," Laird explained.
Pastor Perez and Pastor Angel Rivero of the Marina United Methodist Church told the crowd that their Christian beliefs do not pass judgment on individuals according to the person they pick to have a romantic relationship with.
Meanwhile, the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus tweeted:
"We commit to continuing to bring policies forward to save the lives of our community. Our hearts are with Colorado."