KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Members of Kansas City's LGBTQ+ community came together Sunday to hold a benefit to raise money for the victims and loved ones affected by the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs.
Seventeen community organizations worked together to put on the event.
“Colorado Springs is not Kansas City, but we are a community. When you come for one sector of the LGBTQ community, you come for all of us,” said Justin Short, District 4 Commissioner of the KC LGBTQ Commission.
Short says the benefit shows the unification of the LGBTQ community, standing together to overcome tragedy.
"These spaces are sacred and safe to us because this is where we come to be who we are, and that was attacked," Short said. "One of the reasons we are having it here (Fountain Haus) is to say we are not afraid, but we are going to stand up and show the community we are here for you.”
Fountain Haus, the location of the celebration of life, is an LGBTQ-owned and operated space in Westport.
“Just the idea that we are all here, the music is going to play, we are all going to smile. Obviously, it’s a somber event, but it should be uplifting,” said Fountain Haus managing partner Ryan Overberg.
Despite optimism for the night, Short says there were concerns in questioning the safety of the benefit after recent events.
“We did tighten up our security. Everybody that comes tonight is being wanded,” Short said. “KCPD has been made aware of this event, and they are going to be out and about keeping an eye on us."
As the community looks to the future, Overberg and Short say half the battle is living out and proud, not letting others force LGBTQ members into hiding.
“You have to keep dancing, you have to keep smiling, you have to keep going,” Overberg said.