Obama Designates Stonewall Inn A National Monument

| by Ray Brown
The Stonewall Inn in New York CityThe Stonewall Inn in New York City

President Barack Obama designated a national monument to honor the gay rights movement.

On June 24, Obama acknowledged the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City best known for where the modern gay rights movement began in 1969 after patrons protested police raids, is a pivotal part of American history.

"Raids like these were nothing new, but this time the patrons had had enough," Obama said in a White House video, according to NPR. "So they stood up and spoke out. The riots became protests. The protests became a movement. The movement ultimately became an integral part of America."

"Stonewall is finally taking its rightful place in American history," said Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who helped lead the effort to make the Stonewall Inn a nationally recognized landmark. "We are faced with painful reminders daily of how much further we must go to achieve true equality and tolerance for the LGBT community, but honoring and preserving the stories of all of the diverse participants in Stonewall in our National Park System is a clear symbol of how far we have come."

Although the official federal government recognition of the Stonewall was made days after the massacre of 49 victims at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, the effort to give glory to the famed bar had been set in motion weeks before.

In May, 2016, several members of the local Greenwich Village community in lower Manhattan, many of whom were at the Stonewall Inn during the tumultuous protests there in 1969, spoke out, including 80-year-old Gil Horowitz, a bisexual man who recalled the protests at a public hearing.

“It was made clear to me that night that it was never safe to be LGBT,” Horowitz said, according to the New York Times. “Stonewall was our turning point, our rallying cry.”

Sources: NPR, The New York Times / Photo Credit: Johannes Jordan/Wikipedia

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