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Today, HRC is proud to kick off National LGBTQ Pride Month.

Pride month coincides with the anniversary of the famous Stonewall Riots that occurred in 1969 in New York City. The riots marked the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement in the U.S.  Harassed by local police simply for congregating, LGBTQ patrons decided to take a stand and fight back against the brutal intimidation they regularly faced. Their refusal to resign themselves to the shadows of that bar or the corners of American society began a social movement dedicated to the eradication of discrimination against all LGBTQ Americans. The events at Stonewall inspired a social awakening for many in the LGBTQ community, and had a profound effect on the nation’s perception of people who identify as part of the LGBTQ community.

Exactly one year later, the first Pride marches took place in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to commemorate this brave stand against injustice.

Now, Pride events are held annually across the nation and in cities large and small. For some Americans, it is the only time they can be out and proud in their community. Pride festivals and parades celebrate the progress made by the LGBTQ community, but are also opportunities to acknowledge the distance we still have to go to achieve full equality.

“There remains much work to do to extend the promise of our country to every American, but because of the acts of courage of the millions who came out and spoke out to demand justice and of those who quietly toiled and pushed for progress, our Nation has made great strides in recognizing what these brave individuals long knew to be true in their hearts -- that love is love and that no person should be judged by anything but the content of their character,” President Obama said in his Presidential Proclamation for LGBT Pride Month . “During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, as Americans wave their flags of pride high and march boldly forward in parades and demonstrations, let us celebrate how far we have come and reaffirm our steadfast belief in the equal dignity of all Americans.”

Pride season also presents an invaluable opportunity for HRC to connect with people who want to learn more about the organization, and the broader movement for LGBTQ civil rights.

“Pride events are often the first place people learn about HRC and how they can engage in our movement,” Zack Hasychak, HRC’s associate director of membership outreach, told HRC’s Equality Magazine. “At Prides, you meet a lot of people in your community with very different backgrounds and experiences. By engaging with them and sharing the work of HRC, you’re helping them get to a place where they can live out, proud and openly.”

In 2016, HRC will continue this outreach during nearly 200 Pride events across the country from March to November, connecting with members of the community to talk about the work that HRC is doing every day to help move forward the ideals of equality, and the larger movement the Stonewall riots sparked that night in 1969.

Click here to find a Pride event in your area and join HRC and thousands of others to celebrate  LGBT progress and equality.

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