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Colorado leaders, LGBT community stand with Orlando

Candlelight vigil aims at solidarity in wake of latest attack

DENVER – In the face of the nation’s most recent act of terror, about 1,500 Coloradans gathered at a gay nightclub Sunday night in Denver to say, “we are Orlando.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, addressing a crowd with candles in their hands at Tracks Nightclub, declared, “Today, love conquers all.”

The attack at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub early Sunday morning left 50 dead, including the shooter, a 29-year-old American-born man who appears to have been inspired by ISIS.

“Seeing all of you, your faces, the power of your convictions, hope over pain, you have given us comfort, and you have reminded us that it’s about humanity and nothing else,” Hancock said.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman offered a passionate speech, saying she abandoned prepared remarks to speak directly to Colorado’s gay community.

“You are here for each other, and we are all here for you,” Coffman said.

She pointed out that PrideFest is next weekend in Denver. The event has been overshadowed by the recent attack, as well as reports of a separate foiled attack reportedly against Pride festival in Los Angeles.

“We’ll lift you up in solidarity to honor the sacrifice of those who died in Orlando,” Coffman said to cheers and applause.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet added, “Terrorists’ purpose ... is to destroy our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness. ... But even in our grief, we will not let them steal that from us.”

Some in attendance sobbed uncontrollably as speakers in Denver recalled the horror in Orlando, when a night of drinking and dancing turned into a haunting nightmare.

“We cannot allow this senseless act of violence to send our community back into the closet,” said Dave Montez, executive director of LGBT group One Colorado. “We worked too hard to share our stories and to come out to our neighbors and friends and family members, and we have to keep doing it.”


On Monday night, vigils were held around the state, with one of the biggest in Denver’s Cheesman Park.

Meanwhile, organizers of Denver’s PrideFest say next weekend’s festival will go ahead with tight security, including metal detectors and fences.