November 19, 2022 will forever mark a dark day for not only Colorado residents, but LGBTQ+ communities world-wide.
For the first time since that tragic night, the community of Colorado Springs came together in preparation for its first Pride parade since November 2022. This year, Richard Fierro, one of the two men who tackled the gunman inside Club Q will lead the Colorado Springs Pikes Peak Parade reports NBC News.
“I’m humbled beyond belief to be accepted into the community and asked as a straight dude to grand marshal their parade,” Fierro told NBC News. “And to me, that’s a signal of something that we all need to take, take light in.”
This year’s theme is “the Power of Pride,” which is a simple phrase that embodies a community unwilling to back down. With emotions high and those ready to celebrate, Gretchen Pressley, the marketing and communications director of the Pikes Peak Pride committee, admits that planning this does take an “emotional toll.”
“There are so many emotions involved, you know, like we can’t screw this up,” Pressley says to TIME. “It’s really making sure we’re checking in with the survivors, checking in with the families, making sure that what we’re doing is honoring and not in any way invalidating or in any way using the tragedy for other means—because even though we have the best intentions we weren’t at Club Q that night. We were not members of the families that lost people that night.”
With the LGBTQ+ community fighting for their rights, the community is more grounded than ever with their beliefs.
“I think it’s vital to show people we’re not going to go underground just because some people want us to. We have support and we have love and we have resilience,” says Liss Smith, the communications and advocacy director at local LGBTQ+ organization Inside Out Youth Services to the outlet.
Club Q has revealed its tribute plans thanks to the support of the families and the community that can be viewed on their website.
The Pikes Peak Parade is this weekend, for event details and a map CLICK HERE.
While there’s plenty of Pride events around the city, here’s a quick guide to help you navigate Pride 2023.