By Kelly Huth

There is strength in community.

That was evident as members of the Lafayette College community gathered Nov. 21 for a vigil to honor the lives lost in the murderous attack at an LGBTQIA+ club in Colorado Springs, Colo. Students, staff, and faculty filled the first floor of Lavender Lane, the College’s new LGBTQIA+ residence space, to show their support in the wake of the Club Q shooting.

“I don’t want to stand in front of you and try to offer some sense and meaning to this senseless act of violence and hate,” said Tommy Lee, assistant director of intercultural development for gender and sexuality. He noted the shooting occurred on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors the memory of transgender people who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence.

“In a world where our existence is denied and our safe spaces are threatened, we must hold firm in our queerness, our transness, our black and brownness, and all our forms of authenticity,” Lee said. “We stand proudly united against hate in all its forms and in solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ community in Colorado Springs.”

Strength in each other

President Nicole Hurd spoke to the group, acknowledging and sharing in the hurt and frustration in the room. “Lafayette is a place where we see and hear and value each other. Let us stand with our LGBTQIA+ community in solidarity, love, and unequivocal support. And may we act on our belief that love is love is love….”

During the vigil, Liu ’25, president of Queer, Trans People of Color organization, recited a poem they penned after learning of the Club Q shooting.

“You can pull at our petals. You can try to uproot us. But we will continue to seek the sun,” Liu said.

Meredith McGee ’23, president of Lavender Lane and co-founder of OUT Lafayette, helped Lee to organize the vigil.

“We’re at a really difficult time in society where legislation is being proposed—and passed—against LGBTQIA+ individuals, and this event is a reminder of the lives lost and the work we still need to do,” McGee said.

Finding support

Lee spoke directly to the many students comforting one another in the room. 

“You are worthy. You are beautiful. And you are strong,” he said. He noted all the people gathered at Lavender Lane for the vigil and reminded all those feeling hurt, anger, sadness, or grief to use this community and resources, and to draw on support found at the College, including the Counseling Center and Chaplain Alex Hendrickson.

“Today I’m here as the mother of a queer child who climbed into my bed yesterday to tell me about what happened in Colorado Springs,” Hendrickson said to the group.

She shared a poem from Shawna Bowman, a colleague from a Presbyterian church in Chicago, reciting, “Breathe in rage. Breathe out love.”

Hendrickson implored the students, faculty, and staff, “Do not make yourself small or invisible for someone else’s comfort. You are loved, and you are not alone.”

Student resources

  • Lafayette’s Counseling Center’s regular business hours are 8:45 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday during academic semesters. Assistant Director Asmita Pendse also notes that drop-in hours are available 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.; no appointment is necessary. For urgent concerns when the Counseling Center is closed, call 610-330-5005 to be connected to the after-hours crisis service. Fallyn Lee, staff psychologist and prevention coordinator, says the after-hours support is available even when the College is closed.
  • You may also reach out to Tommy Lee, assistant director of intercultural development for gender and sexuality, or Alex Hendrickson, College chaplain and director of religious and spiritual life.
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