The year was 1969. New York City police had been raiding gay bars in Greenwich Village and periodically arresting LGBT under local “moral laws.” But enough was enough. And following a morning raid on June 28th, the community fought back against this discriminatory police harassment. The result was the Stonewall riot, a historic series of demonstrations against the NYC police, which is now widely viewed as a critical turning point in the pursuit for LGBT equality.
Fast forward 47 years. It is interesting to see how far we have come and yet how much work still remains. But it is evident that the Stonewall riots helped spur the modern LGBT rights movement in America, including the first gay pride parade in the states the following year.
And now it appears that President Obama would like to memorialize this event. The Washington Post is reporting that the U.S. president will declare an area in Greenwich Village as where America’s modern gay liberation movement was born. This will be the first such national monument that acknowledges the LGBT community.
The local congressman representing the Greenwich Village neighborhood has invited the public to meet with Administration officials next week to discuss the proposal. According to the congressman’s website the proposal would “designate a new unit of the National Park System dedicated to the history of the Stonewall uprising that inspired the modern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) movement in America.”
This monument could be created by either an Act of Congress or through an executive order by the president. We will keep you updated, but this appears to be yet another reason to visit New York City during the holidays.