DENVER (KDVR) — After a group of white nationalists was arrested in riot gear while pulling up to a Pride event in Idaho, Colorado LGBTQ organizations are focusing on security.

The 31 people arrested were of the white nationalist group “Patriot Front,” and their identities revealed three of them are from Colorado. Organizations that track hate groups like Patriot Front say the white supremacist outfit is active in Colorado.

“I’m actually really just sad that we still have folks out there that are that angry or that hurt that they feel that they need to harm people,” said Nadine Bridges, executive director of One Colorado.

One Colorado is the state’s leading organization dedicated to equality and advocacy for the LGBTQ community.

“Under no circumstances at all will we allow anyone hiding in a U-Haul van to stop us from being proud of who we are, being inclusive and welcoming, and then loving who we love and presenting in the way that we need to present,” Bridges said.   

However, these events are prompting staff members to have conversations about safety protocols for large events.

“So to have those conversations and talk about protests, protecting ourselves in places we think are safe spaces where we can be seen and heard, that’s hard. It’s hard because those spaces are no longer safe,” Bridges said. “How do we use the buddy system, who do we connect with, what’s the chain of command? Those aren’t discussions that we typically would have.”

Denver-area Pride events focus on security

At their city’s Pride event over the weekend, Boulder Police made their presence known.  

The organizers of Denver‘s PrideFest, planned for June 25-26, said they can’t give specifics about strategy. They released a statement in response to the Idaho arrests.

Obviously, we are concerned about the reports from Idaho. Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our community members, volunteers and staff.  

We are working closely with the Denver Police Department and other public safety agencies to ensure public safety at PrideFest, however we cannot discuss any specific steps or procedures they may or may not be taking. 

We are excited to have an in-person PrideFest again after two years of pandemic disruption. Our goal as always is to welcome all members of our community to celebrate together in health and safety.  

Rex Fuller, CEO at The Center on Colfax, which produces Denver PrideFest

Meanwhile, One Colorado said it hopes to prioritize productive conversations. 

“These are things that we need to come together to fix. But you know, separating ourselves or harming others because you think that they are getting in the way of your life is not something that we should allow,: Bridges said.  

This will be Denver’s first in-person PrideFest after a two-year pandemic pause.