DENVER — On Monday, vigils were held across the metro in honor of the lives lost in the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
One of the remembrance ceremonies in Denver had standing room only, as event organizers sought out additional space to accommodate the outpouring of support.
Porsha DeMarco Douglas attended the interfaith event at ReelWorks in Denver's River North Art (RiNo) District. Douglas performs as a drag queen and has done shows at Club Q in the past. It's also where they met two of the victims — Derrick Rump and Daniel Aston.
"Daniel was probably the most kind, soft-hearted person you will ever meet, and he had a smile on for everyone who walked in," Douglas said. "He greeted everyone with a smile, he was always that person. Like I said, when Derek was there — he gave you a little sass. When they would work together, it was the perfect combination of bartenders. It's literally like you got the sweet and the spicy and it was like, they would sit there and like talk to each other's customers as they came up."
Douglas recalled the moment he learned both of his friends had been involved in the tragedy.
"The fog of disbelief is still sitting with me, I want to be able to walk back into Club Q and see Daniel behind the bar," Douglas said. "The greeting that he always gives me, he yells my name and runs from behind the bar, and he gives me the biggest hug."
Rufio Jimenez also attended Monday evening's vigil and said he knew Rump through his past performances at Club Q. He said the pair had just spent a weekend together in Denver.
"I'm always telling him [that] he needs a vacation. He was always telling me that I needed a vacation," Jimenez said. "So he came down to have a little Denver vacation and I took him around Denver, we went dancing and just had a good time and he stayed with me. I've known him for a while. He's a sweetheart, he's a good person. It's just devastating."
Jimenez said Rump left a few belongings at this house — items which Jimenez now cherishes.
"I have his earring he left at my house last week, so I'll be keeping this on for a while," he said pointing to a small cross, hanging from his earlobe.
Jimenez and Douglas both have extensive careers performing within LGBTQ-inclusive spaces. Despite Saturday's tragedy, which has refueled fear and anxiety for many, both remain committed to their passions.
"I want to get up, go to work, go home, [spend time with] loved ones, cook, clean, go out and dance. Point blank, period. Simple. I want to live my life like everybody else," Douglas said. "Why is this happening? 2022? Why do you hate us that much? What is your problem with us? Just doing what we're doing? Just living. Just trying to exist."
"I know many of the other venues and bars are taking extra precautions — to do anything we can to make people feel safe," Jimenez said as tears welled. "Love wins over hate and love wins over fear."
Monday's event was also hosted in part by LGBTQ club, Tracks Denver, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, and several Jewish and Christian congregations. Several elected leaders addressed the crowd, including: Democratic Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, Colorado state Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Jefferson County, Colorado state Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, and U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, an Aurora Democrat. Herod is also a Denver mayoral candidate.