Today marks 50 years since riots broke out at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The event spawned a civil rights movement that continues today. The bar claims to be the spot “where pride began.”
The New York Times has a terrific lead on this story today:
Hours before it was to become a flash point in the modern gay rights movement and a landmark visited with awe and reverence half a century later as if a shrine, it was just a dark, dingy bar called the Stonewall Inn, just another Friday night in June.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi released a statement to mark the occasion. We wanted to share part of it with you:
Fifty years ago, the Stonewall Inn was transformed from a safe haven for the LGBTQ community to enjoy a night out and be themselves into a global symbol of defiance and pride. In the early morning hours, LGBTQ Americans, fed up with the constant harassment, raids and persecution inflicted on them and their community, took to the streets outside Stonewall to fight back against brutality and violence. Since that historic day, proud, determined LGBTQ Americans have fought, marched and raised their voices to bring our nation closer to its founding promise of equality and justice for all.
“The legacy of Stonewall has helped shape extraordinary change over the last half-century, inspiring generations of LGBTQ activists and allies to fight relentlessly to secure the full blessings of liberty for everyone, regardless of who you are or whom you love. From Martha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera’s Gay Liberation Front, to Harvey Milk’s clarion call for LGBTQ political empowerment, to the fight against HIV/AIDS, ending the hateful ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy and ensuring marriage equality for all, we have forged incredible progress for the LGBTQ community. Yet, tragically, LGBTQ Americans continue to face devastating violence, discrimination and hate, particularly transgender women of color who suffer a disproportionately high rate of homelessness, drug addiction, HIV, sexual assault and murder. For transgender servicemembers, the Trump Administration’s bigoted ban dishonors their courage and service in defense of our nation. And, still 50 years after Stonewall, half of all LGBTQ Americans live in states with no legal protections against discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Today, Stonewall is a National Monument and remains a place of inclusion and pride for millions of people who visit every year. Each June, people honor the brave trailblazers of Stonewall by marching through city streets in Pride Parades around the world, celebrating the strength of our diversity and the unifying power of love. On this momentous anniversary, the memory of those who risked all to stand up for themselves and their community continues to inspire us to act. Last month, House Democrats took bold action to build on the progress we have made by passing the landmark Equality Act to finally, fully end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. The road from Stonewall has been long and difficult, and more work remains, but we will not be deterred on our march toward a more just and equal future for all.