LGBTQ community rallies together in fundraiser for Colorado shooting victims

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many members of the LGBTQ community in New Mexico have close ties to Colorado Springs. Now, gay bars in Albuquerque are doing their part to try to help those who were affected by this weekend’s mass shooting. 

This tragedy has really is a lot to process for many members of the queer community, especially at the local gay bar Sidewinders. Club Q was their sister bar, the owners are good friends and business partners, and together they plan events in both cities throughout the year. 

When you walk into Sidewinders you are greeted by a small memorial. Five white candles burn under a sign that reads “Never Forget Our Family.” 

It was Sunday morning when Sidewinders Co-Owner, Renato Estacio Burdick, was scrolling through social media when news of the shooting came up on his feed 

“I said to myself is this true did this really just happen so close to home. At first we couldn’t believe it, I had to check it was the same Club Q,” Estacio Burdick said. “I have chosen kids that are out there that are a part of that.” 

It was a mad rush to check in on anyone who could have been at Club Q that night. 

“We have talked to family members who go there, who are performers there, who moved up there, making sure checking in that they are safe,” Estacio Burdick said.

“I immediately reached out to my friends and people I knew up there,” Community Organizer Daniel Romero chimed in. 

While most of their friends and family were safe – Estacio Burdick recognized some of the victims. 

“One of their staff members, he was one victim,” Estacio Burdick said. “He used to come down here and work with us for PRIDE and other events. So, it hit home too closely.” 

Daniel Aston, Ashley Paugh, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, and Raymond Green Vance all lost their lives Saturday night. 

“Just wow,” said Estacio Burdick while looking down at his hands for a moment before looking over to Romero and continuing. “That could have been any of our bar tenders too. That’s the hard part. This could have been any one of us. That could have been us up there because we have such close ties with them.” 

“It’s been a wave of emotions,” Romero said. “Scared, sad, I started crying. Then I got to the point where I am just angry that this is happening again in our community.” 

Now, Estacio Burdick and Romero are turning their grief into action. 

“It’s been amazing to see how much love there is in the community and quickly we file into rank and make something happen,” Romero said. 

They are planning a remembrance and fundraising event for Wednesday at Sidewinders to support the victims and their families up in Colorado Springs. 

“I know it’s the week of Thanksgiving, but people are rearranging their schedules to be able to make this thing happen,” Romero said. “We are really going to make it into a celebration of our community coming together under light and love and understanding. We need to take action to protect ourselves and the community at large.” 

Sharing love to stomp out hate. 

Doors will open at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and any tips and donations will help those in Colorado Springs who were impacted by the shooting at Club Q.

If you would rather donate online than in person consider the Colorado Healing Fund. There’s also two verified GoFundMe pages for other victims still recovering, including one set up by the nonprofit Good Judy Garage, and one set up by a former Club Q employee.

The Albuquerque PFLAG Group will also hold a candlelight vigil for all Club Q shooting victims, Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Morningside Park.