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Stonewall Inn Becomes A National Monument

A couple embraces outside The Stonewall Inn mere hours after the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MARY ALTAFFER
A couple embraces outside The Stonewall Inn mere hours after the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MARY ALTAFFER

President Obama announced Friday that he is officially declaring a national monument at the Stonewall Inn, commemorating the historic rise of the modern LGBT movement that started there. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the gay bar, spurring the LGBT patrons to riot and begin organizing resistance efforts that turned into what is now known as Pride.

Technically the new national park is Christopher Park, the area directly across from the Stonewall Inn. Obama’s proclamation notes that the park has become “a popular destination for LGBT youth, many of whom had run away from or been kicked out of their homes,” as well as a place of organizing for other LGBT milestones:

Christopher Park and its environs have remained a key gathering place for the LGBT community. For example, on June 26, 2015, within moments of the issuance of the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, LGBT people headed to Christopher Park to celebrate the Court’s recognition of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. A few days later, Governor Cuomo continued that celebration by officiating at the marriage of two gay men directly outside the Stonewall Inn. Within minutes of the recent news of the murders of 49 people in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida — one of the most deadly shootings in American history — LGBT people and their supporters in New York headed again to Christopher Park to mourn, heal, and stand together in unity for the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.

Mirroring remarks from his Second Inaugural Address, Obama’s proclamation describes the Stonewall Uprising as “a watershed moment for LGBT civil rights and a transformative event in the Nation’s civil rights movement on par with the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls and the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights in its role in energizing a broader community to demand equal rights.”

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The White House issued the following video along with the proclamation:

The Stonewall National Monument is the first national monument recognizing the LGBT movement.