Atrevida Beer Co. in Colorado Springs was standing room only Tuesday night as the small brewery held a fundraiser for the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
The fundraiser came just days after a shooting left five people dead and nearly two dozen injured. But the fundraiser, hosted by UCCS alum Richard Fierro who operates Atrevida with his wife, was planned before Fierro — an Army veteran — gained national attention for helping stop the attack at Club Q, a local LGBTQ club, on Nov. 19.
“There's no way we would've expected the community to come out like this,” Fierro said as his servers sold pint after pint. The brewery donated one dollar from each beer sold to the resource center and Ent credit union said it would match the amount raised.
Gov. Jared Polis and Mayor John Suthers were also on hand as Ent Credit Union presented Fierro with its first Community Advocate Award, complete with a $50,000 check.
In the days since the shooting, Colorado Springs has rallied around the LGBTQ community. Pride flags now hang from businesses all along the city’s downtown, including a 25-foot one draped over the front of city hall.
Whitley Hadley, director of the UCCS resource center receiving Tuesday’s donations, grew up in Colorado Springs and says the city has more nuance and cultural diversity than its famously conservative reputation.
“Unfortunately, tragedy brings that [diversity] to light. But we are here, we exist and will continue to exist in Colorado Springs,” Hadley said.
Mayor Suthers, a Republican, said he’s hoping residents show both emotional and financial support for the Club Q victims, some of whom remain in the hospital. He also asked for people to stop the rhetoric surrounding LGBTQ issues.
“Yes, we [conservatives] have some differences about sacramental marriage and stuff like that,” Suthers said. “But, for gosh sakes, that is no dividing line in terms of love for fellow human beings.”
Lulu’s Downstairs, a bar in the nearby mountain community of Manitou Springs, also held a fundraiser Tuesday night – this one donated money brought in through a silent auction to the shooting victims.
Poets and musicians performed from Lulu’s dimly lit stage, including Wyatt Kent. His boyfriend, Daniel Aston, was one of those killed in the shooting.
Many of those at Club Q on that night, including both Aston and Fierro, were in attendance to celebrate Kent’s 23rd birthday at Lulu’s.
“I had given Daniel a hug and a kiss [and] told him I loved him no more than probably seconds before it happened,” Kent said.
Kent said Aston had told him that this New Year’s he was going to whisk Kent away to a Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas to get married.
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