AUGUSTA, GA. (WJBF)- “When you have people that feel that they are at risk and then you put them at risk in a safe space, it is utterly terrifying, it is utterly terrifying,” former Augusta Pride President Lonzo Smith said.

Finding a safe space for those in the LGBTQ+ community means a lot. 

“Our clubs and places like that are sanctuaries. If you have never been in a situation where you felt unsafe in the world or you can’t display love for the person you care about the most, holding hands in public– this is our sanctuary,” Smith said 

Following the Colorado nightclub shooting, former Augusta Pride President Lonzo Smith says, this is just another heartache. 

“We live in a world, right now, where we are so disconnected from each other that we have lost the form of empathy, we have lost the form to understand that another person’s pain can hurt yourself,” Smith said.

He says being kind is what’s important. 

“We need to create ripples into the world of kindness and understand that there are misunderstood people in this world, there are people who are not loved in this world, and we don’t need to target these people because you don’t understand them or you hate them,” Smith said.

And Smith feels the issue is at a larger scale.

“I think, in the long run, we–as a country– have a lot of work left to do when we come to understand that we are the people. It is a problem; it is a problem,” Smith said.