(COLORADO SPRINGS) — It has been seven months since the Club Q shooting and the Colorado Healing Fund continues to fall under scrutiny.
Victims of the shooting gathered at the steps of Colorado Springs City Hall building on Tuesday, June 20, where they said everyday since Nov. 19 has been a challenge. Victims said they have not been able to heal properly as they continue to fight an organization that was created to fill critical gaps in victim support.
“I needed to return to my job a few days after the incident occurred,” said John Arcediano, a Club Q survivor. “The world keeps spinning as we are stuck in the day of [the shooting].”
Since the shooting, the Colorado Healing Fund has received approximately $3 million and have distributed $2.075 million of that. With the most recent donation of $1.3 million in February, victims said it isn’t enough.
“They put their names out there, they said they would take care of us and here we are again, seven months later,” said James Slaugh, another Club Q survivor. “They call themselves the Colorado Healing Fund, but they’ve done anything but.”
Victims said they are required to keep all receipts and submit them to the Colorado Healing Fund, where the fund determines if the request is an immediate need. An immediate need includes rent, hotel stays, moving costs, house modifications, food/fuel/basic needs, etc. The Colorado Healing Fund said no request or receipts are necessary when a direct cash disbursement is made to victims’ families and survivors.
“We are still here having to fight for the exact same thing,” Slaugh explained. “We’re still here trying to fight for the money that was raised for us.”
The Colorado Healing Fund said they have made it clear with both donors and recipients that they are focused on the short-term, intermediate, and long-term needs of victims.
“The long-term component is very important because we are still five months away from the one-year anniversary of the tragedy, and experts tell us to expect additional trauma and needs to surface then,” said Jordan Finegan, Executive Director of the Colorado Healing Fund.
While victims of the Club Q shooting said their tragedy isn’t the only one impacted by the Colorado Healing Fund.
“I’m in contact with people from Las Vegas and Aurora and they are still going through the same thing,” said Ashtin Gamblin, Club Q survivor. “This isn’t just a minor event with maybe one or two mass shootings, this has actually been a thing since Columbine.”
The Colorado Healing Fund said their model was created by more than 20 of Colorado’s leading experts in the area of incident response.
“100% of the money we receive from donors for Club Q victims will go to the victims,” Finegan said. “We do not keep any of the funds for administrative expenses or for any profit.”
Many victims of the Club Q shooting want the community to consider donating to Bread & Roses. According to the center’s website, Bread & Roses is a “social justice legal center” that aims to “disrupt the harms the legal system inflicts” on the LGBTQ+ community. In the meantime, if you or someone you know needs help coping with the Club Q shooting, you are asked to contact the Colorado Crisis Services center.
The Colorado Healing Fund said every Club Q victim who has come forward has received support, while Adriana Vance, Raymond Vance’s mother, said the fight for more funding continues.
“I haven’t been able to properly grieve my son because I’m having to attend different events, speaking with different people so that my voice can be heard for my son because I’m here speaking out for him because he’s not able to,” Vance said.