Student activists demand change, hold vigil in Lake Oswego after Club Q shooting

Published: Nov. 26, 2022 at 10:29 PM PST
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LAKE OSWEGO Ore. (KPTV) - The shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo. has devastated LGBTQIA+ communities across the country, including in the Portland metro area.

Shannon Walton-Clark said no matter how far Colorado Springs is from Oregon, this tragedy hit too close to home.

“I collapsed,” Walton-Clark said. “As a queer and nonbinary person married to a queer, genderqueer person, our household just broke.”

Walton-Clark said they remember going to dance clubs and bars when they were in college.

“That was the first place like, I would wear a tie out because it was the only place I felt comfortable going with my partner, who’s now my wife, out in the clothes that made me feel comfortable,” they said. “Every time this happens it’s that feeling like it could have been one of us.”

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Peren Tiemann agreed.

“This doesn’t simply end with the community in Colorado, this is part of our community across the nation,” she said.

Tiemann is a member of Students Demand Action. He helped organize a rally and vigil for the community to grieve the lives lost to gun violence in Colorado and Virginia this week and to ask lawmakers to create and enforce gun legislation that prevents shootings like these from happening again.

“As a member of the queer community, especially a young one, this is really important to me because it shows our community that we’re not safe even in our safest places and that gun violence can reach us no matter where and that’s not acceptable,” Tiemann said.

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U.S. representative-elect Andrea Salinas, who represents Lake Oswego in District 6, said she knows all too well how important this issue is and said tragedies like this are why she does what she does - to try and make a difference when times are tough.

“As a mom to a queer student at L.O. high school, it’s scary,” she said to the crowd, holding back tears. “We should not continue to have to come together in these vigils because there are solutions. Those red flag laws could work. If the sheriffs had not ignored those in Colorado, those red flag laws would’ve worked.”