Today, HRC praised the announcement from the White House that President Barack Obama has designated the park at Stonewall as the first-ever national LGBTQ monument.
“The Stonewall National Monument will pay tribute to the brave individuals who stood up to oppression and helped ignite a fire in a movement to end unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The announcement is especially significant following the horrific massacre in Orlando, a heartbreaking reminder of the hate and violence we continue to face as a community. In the early days of our movement, the brave individuals who fought back at Stonewall and at other historic moments, helped inspire countless others. It is our hope that by honoring these pioneers, this new national monument will be a source of inspiration to a new generation of Americans across the country standing up for equality and uniting to show the world that love conquers hate. We are incredibly grateful for President Obama’s leadership in recognizing the LGBTQ community’s contributions to our nation’s march towards liberty and justice for all.”
On June 27, 1969 The Stonewall Riots in New York City marked the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. Harassed by local police simply for congregating, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer patrons decided to take a stand and fight back against the brutal intimidation they regularly faced. By refusing to resign themselves to the shadows of that bar or American society, the beginning of a social movement dedicated to the eradication of discrimination against all LGBTQ Americans was born. The events of those nights inspired a social awakening for many in the LGBTQ community and had a profound effect on the nation’s perception of persons who identify as L, G, B, T or Q as a community in and of itself. The following year on June 28, the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to commemorate the anniversary of this brave stand against injustice.
Throughout the course of American history, there have been a number of events that have shaped the United States as we know it today, and the riots at Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park are a pivotal part of that history. Prior to 1969, there were no LGBTQ pride parades, and few well-known examples of people living open, authentic lives. The riots at Stonewall -- one of several acts of resistance by early LGBTQ advocates -- helped spark a revolution in the LGBTQ equality movement, bringing us together collectively as a community and as Americans.
The park will now be the first national monument in the U.S. National Park System solely dedicated to telling the story of the LGBTQ American experience, which is often overlooked on the national level.
The White House released this video about the announcement:
HRC was proud to partner with the National Park Conservation Association to help lead the effort in urging the administration to establish a national monument to commemorate the events at Stonewall.