As Manhattan celebrates Gay Pride Month, President Barack Obama announced the dedication of the Stonewall Inn as a national monument — the first ever monument to LGBT history in the country.
Obama announced the dedication of the legendary Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area, the site of the historic 1969 riots, as a national monument in a video that broadcast in Times Square Friday afternoon.
“I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and the diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us — that we are stronger together, that out of many, we are one,” Obama said.
The dedication was praised and heralded by a variety of New York politicians.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who led the push for the designation of the monument, said Friday:
President Obama’s designation of the Stonewall National Monument recognizes that the events of Stonewall launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement here and around the world — like Selma did for racial justice and Seneca Falls did for women’s rights. We are faced with painful reminders daily of how much further we must go to achieve true equality and tolerance for the LGBT community, but honoring and preserving the stories of all the diverse participants in Stonewall in our National Park System is a clear symbol of how far we have come.
New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Now, for the first time, when the National Park Service tells the story of the American people — our culture, our history, our diversity — that story will include voices from our LGBT community.”
But in 1969, the former inn, heralded as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, refused to abide by the laws that forbade bars from serving gay people — a decision that culminated in violent riots between law enforcement officials and patrons during a police raid June 28, 1969.
“There is no better time to acknowledge Stonewall as a national monument — a place that is central to our history and our values, not only as a city but as a nation,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who approved the transfer of the land at Christopher Park to the National Parks Service, said in a statement Friday. “Today, the designation of the Stonewall Inn serves as both recognition of the bravery of the activists who fought for their right to love, but also as a national embrace of the LGBTQ community after the devastating attack in Orlando.”
The National Park Foundation announced that it is partnering with local and national organizations as well as the local community in order to raise the $2 million needed to launch the new park. The foundation will also help to establish a Friends Group to provide philanthropic support for the new monument.
New York City gave the Greenwich Village bar landmark status last year.
Watch the White House's video on Stonewall Inn:
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