Here’s some truly excellent, pre-Pride March news: As of today, the area where the Stonewall riots occurred in 1969 is now a U.S. national monument. President Obama announced the news in a video, which also includes testimonials from LGBT activists on why the historic bar and gathering place is so important to both New York’s and the country’s history. The Stonewall riots began at the small bar on Christopher Street on June 28, 1969, and are seen by many as the catalyst for the modern LGBT rights movement.
Stonewall Inn was named a New York City landmark last year, and after that, New York City and state politicians started to push for making the Inn (and its adjacent park) a national monument. President Obama expressed his support earlier this year, and now—just a few days before the city’s biggest Pride festivities happen—that historic, wonderful action has happened.
"Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights," President Obama says in the video. "I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country—the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us."
Here’s the video—be sure to have some tissues on hand:
NYC lawmakers who had pushed for the designation are already tweeting their support:
The first Nat'l Monument designated to reflect LGBT history & cultural at Stonewall- Thank you Mr. President— (((Deborah Glick))) (@DeborahJGlick) June 24, 2016
Now when @NatlParkService tells the story of America--our culture, our history, our diversity–it will include voices from our LGBT community— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 24, 2016
The decision also comes five years to the day after the Marriage Equality Act was signed into law in New York. Expect this year’s Pride weekend to be a very, very emotional one.