By Nora Kelly
President Obama on Friday announced the creation of the Stonewall National Monument, the first such memorial in U.S. history to pay homage to LGBT civil rights. It will protect the Stonewall Inn and its surrounding areas in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the site of a 1969 riot that catalyzed the LGBT equality movement. In a presidential proclamation released Friday afternoon, Obama wrote:
The Stonewall Uprising changed the nation’s history. After the Stonewall incident, the LGBT community across the nation realized its power to join together and demand equality and respect. Within days of the events, Stonewall seemed to galvanize LGBT communities across the country, bringing new supporters and inspiring LGBT activists to organize demonstrations to show support for LGBT rights in several cities. … The quest for LGBT equality after Stonewall evolved from protests and small gatherings into a nationwide movement.
In June 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar. Patrons resisted police and began protesting outside, and soon their ranks swelled. Obama characterized the uprising as a “transformative event” in the history of the civil-rights movement, “on par with the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls and the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March.” The designation comes just days before another ground-breaking moment in the fight for LGBT equality: the first anniversary of the the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.
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