Aurora Councilmembers Condemn Anti-LGBTQ Crime | dawn

The Aurora City Council has adopted a resolution condemning hate crimes perpetrated against the LGBTQIA+ community and calling on people to report incidents when they occur.

Councilwoman Crystal Murillo introduced the resolution for council consideration Monday in response to the mass shooting that killed five people at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. At least 22 more people were injured in the incident.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of carrying out a bias-motivated attack, though the charges could change as they enter the court system.

“This is not the first shot aimed at, you know, safe spaces in the LGBTQIA community, but this one hits close to home,” Murillo said.

Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky had suggested that the council take steps to condemn all hate crimes, rather than focus solely on the LGBTQIA+ community. She also suggested passing a proclamation or establishing a day of recognition instead of a resolution.

“This shooting is absolutely horrific, and it seems to be adding to a growing list,” Jurinsky said, naming the Aurora theater shooting, the Boulder grocery store shooting and the school shootings as examples of various locations where mass shootings have taken place.

“These are all supposed to be safe spaces. You should be able to go to the grocery store and get out of there without getting shot. You should be able to go to a movie theater and get out of there without getting shot. A nightclub. school,” she said.

Jurinsky said it shouldn’t matter where the attack takes place, from a mosque to a synagogue, because “it affects everyone.”

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“We’ve seen a lot of these shootings and so many attacks and I guess I just wish and would like to see that we condemn hate and we condemn hate crimes against people,” he said.

Councilwoman Alison Coombs agreed that all forms of hate should be condemned, she said, but that Murillo’s resolution was important because of its opportunity and direct message to the LGBTQIA+ community.

“In this case, with LGBTQIA people, we’ve been subject to an increasing amount of hateful rhetoric, hateful acts, a resurgence of a type of rhetoric that I haven’t seen since I was a teenager,” he said, offering the use of the word “perverts” towards members of the LGBTQIA community as an example and pointing to the recent swath of anti-LGBTQ legislation.

“That is specifically harmful to us,” he said.

LGBTQIA+ nightclubs can be like “the little corner of the world” where people feel safe, Coombs said.

“When I go to the supermarket with my spouse, I see people mocking and mocking,” she said.

Murillo told The Denver Gazette that when traditionally safe spaces become the scene of violence, it “instills a lot of fear” and can also affect the sense of safety in nearby communities. Aurora is a community that knows “how shootings specifically can have lasting traumatic effects,” he said.

Its resolution states that the city council condemns hate crimes committed against the LGBTQIA+ community and that, while progress has been made toward acceptance and equality, the LGBTQIA+ community continues to “face discrimination, intolerance, and hate-motivated attacks.”

The United States is experiencing a rise in hate crimes for the fourth year in a row, according to research from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Hate crimes increased 4.7% in the first half of 2022, which analyzed data from 15 major US cities. Hate crimes increased by double digits in the previous two years, according to the study.

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The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism study found that black, Jewish, gay and Latino communities were the most frequently targeted in the first half of 2022. Anti-gay crimes, he said, increased 51% last year. since 2020, while -Transgender or gender identity crimes increased by 6%.

In Colorado, a survey commissioned by Hate Free Colorado found that nearly 3 in 10 adults surveyed said they had been the subject of a hate crime in the past five years, but only 18% reported the incident to police.

The Colorado Springs shooting unfolded on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance. At least 32 transgender people had been violently killed this year prior to the shooting, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The number of transgender people who die as a result of violence is likely significantly underestimated, he said.

Murillo’s resolution called on people within the LGBTQIA+ community and bystanders to report incidents when they occur. The resolution also called on law enforcement “to promptly investigate and document all credible reports of hate crime incidents and threats against the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Murillo urged communities to take incidents like the Q Club shooting and threats seriously, and for municipalities to “be very mindful” of how the data undercounts hate crimes and find other ways to support target groups.

To encourage better reporting, law enforcement should prioritize building relationships with the community, particularly those where trust may be suffering, he said.

“I think it’s probably a good start,” he said.

Its resolution says that “we must remain vigilant in deterring oppression and discrimination against people based on sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation,” and that the city continues efforts to prevent hate rhetoric and hate crimes. hate speech directed at the LGBTQIA+ community.

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“It’s so close to home. It felt necessary,” Murillo said. “And really, we should support our LGBTQ community at all times.”