Survivors of mass shootings across the country show support to those affected by Club Q tragedy

Survivors of other shootings say they are advocating for those impacted by the Club Q tragedy.
Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 5:56 AM MST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:38 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Survivors of mass shootings across the country say they are standing in solidarity with those affected by the tragedy at Club Q.

Some of these survivors came to Colorado Springs Sunday.

“I want to make something very clear: Every day is a fight and struggle for victims of mass shootings. I don’t care where they’ve been, how long it has been, but this is what it really looks like,” said Tiara Parker, a survivor of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Parker and several others held a news conference at the downtown Springs Hyatt to bring attention to monetary resources for Club Q survivors. In particular, speakers Sunday called out the Colorado Healing Fund for not giving 100 percent of proceeds to victims -- money that they said can help victims restart their lives.

Parker was joined by fellow survivors of the Pulse shooting, the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, and 2017 Las Vegas music festival shooting. Besides living through unspeakable crimes, these survivors say they are brought together by a desire to be a voice for the Club Q victims.

“Club Q patrons, just know we are working as best we can to protect you behind the scenes while you’re still processing how to manage and cope with this trauma,” said Karen Gomez, a survivor of the Aurora shooting.

The speakers say they have one message: give the Club Q victims 100 percent of the funds donated to them.

“This is happening to Club Q victims; they won’t receive 100 percent of donations unless all of us in this room and their friends and family demand that they stay with us and help us right this wrong,” Parker said.

Amy Cook, another Aurora survivor, alleged that those impacted by other Colorado massacres never saw all of the money the Colorado Healing Fund raised.

“They think the donations are theirs to use at their discretion. We experienced it in Aurora and it’s the same thing that the Boulder [2021 King Soopers shooting] families is experiencing.”

The Colorado Healing Fund has raised over $300,000 for Club Q victims. According to its website, a board of trustees decides how the funds are released and that a portion of donations may be used for administrative needs.

“The Colorado Healing Fund will tell you that they are holding back donations from victims for long-term needs,” said Shani-Angela Hervey, a friend of Pulse survivors. “But when you withhold donations from victims, long-term needs become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

“The victims decide what they need long-term; give them the power to control their lives,” another speaker said.

11 News has reached out to the Colorado Healing Fund and has not heard back at the time of this writing. However, the Frank DeAngelis, the former Columbine High School principal who now serves on the fund’s board, told our sister CBS Denver:

“People that serve on this board had dealings with the Aurora theater shooting, after Columbine of course, and other events, so we try to put our best thinking together in dealing with people that are going through mass events on how we can help them.”

DeAngelis said the funds the foundation collect are strictly to help those victims, though the checks aren’t directly cut to the families.

“We do not distribute the money directly to the victims of the families who lost loved ones or injured, but one of the things we do is work with various organizations that are working with the victims and the injured. ... People say well it is supposed to go directly to the victims but we state on there not are we only helping the victims and families of the victims but the injured we are also helping community needs so when people decide if they are going to pledge or donate they are reading that information exactly of what we’re doing,” he told CBS Denver.

There are several other fundraisers that employees have set up through GoFundMe. One that we have verified can be found here. As we verify new ones, we are adding them to our FindIt page, which can be accessed here.