Boulder, Colorado understands all too well how important community healing can be in the face of tragedy. Over the past two years, the city experienced a variety of challenges, ranging from a mass shooting to wildfires to the COVID-19 pandemic. The cumulative trauma of these events has had a marked impact on the community.
In March 2021, a mass shooting at a grocery store took the lives of ten Boulder community members, including one police officer. Within days of the shooting, the Boulder community came together to mourn and begin the long journey to healing. The Boulder Strong platform was established as a symbol of community resilience, and as a conduit to organizations providing mental health services. Additionally, a Boulder Strong Resource Center was set up, with local nonprofit Mental Health Partners leading the effort. The resource center offered victims of the tragedy and community members a place to go to get support. It received strong support from many local partners, including the City of Boulder, Community Foundation Boulder County, Kroger, and the broader community.
The shooting was followed by a great outpouring of support, with several million dollars raised by local organizations and businesses pledging to match contributions. Vigils, memorials and remembrances sprang up throughout the community. Hundreds of community members and local businesses displayed Boulder Strong signs, and a police car parked in front of the police station was showered with flowers and gifts to the family of the fallen officer.
The city recently commemorated the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting. The remembrance brought together hundreds of community members to honor the victims of this tragedy through music, speeches and a moment of silence.
Sadly, Boulder County faced another disaster later in 2021, with a fire in Louisville and Superior that destroyed over 1,000 homes. Many of the community healing resources mobilized for the shooting in the City of Boulder became important for this recovery as well.
Boulder is no stranger to trauma, but this community has an incredible level of resilience, and has learned together how strong it can be in the face of tragedy.