Benefit for Orlando Pulse Nightclub memorial held in Denver

DENVER — It has been three years since 49 people were killed at a gay nightclub in Orlando. On Wednesday — a month after the third anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub massacre — a fundraiser was held at Tracks Nightclub in Denver honoring the victims.

People across the country were impacted by what happened in Florida in 2016. There were Coloradans at the club that night and others from the Denver area lost friends in the tragedy.

“I lost my best friend from college ... at the shooting,” said Sara Grossman, who works social media for Tracks.

Grossman spoke of her Pulse connection publicly at Wednesday’s event. She says the focus of Wednesday night was on continuous healing and fundraising.

“A really awesome way to kind of build a bridge between the Denver and Orlando communities,” Grossman explained.

Wednesday marked the fourth annual benefit in Denver. The first happened shortly after the shooting, organizers said.

A group of entertainers volunteered their time and tips to support One Pulse Foundation, an organization working to build a memorial and museum honoring the 49 people who lost their lives.

“I think that it’s important to recognize that Pulse is still kind of hurting and still recovering — and that there are families and victims still going through a lot of the experience,” said Jessica L’Whor, organizer and drag performer.

Money raised Wednesday also benefits the One Colorado Education Fund — fighting for LGBTQ rights locally, according to Jessica.

In the three years since the shooting, gay clubs across America have reassessed security measures. Tracks even started pat-downs at doors after the shooting.

“We brought additional police officers on,” said Tracks general manager Erik Arredondo. “Additional security for doors ... and things like that.”

Arredondo said the tragedy made staff and club goers more aware of their surroundings — vigilance that continues three years later.

Organizers of the Denver event said the goal in Orlando is to break ground on a museum and memorial in 2022.

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