Official action: Obama designates Stonewall as a national monument

The White House announced that today President Barack Obama is designating the Stonewall Inn and its surroundings as a national monument.

The White House notice stated, “Today, President Obama will designate a new national monument at the historic site of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City to honor the broad movement for LGBT equality. The new Stonewall National Monument will protect the area where, on June 28, 1969, a community’s uprising in response to a police raid sparked the modern LGBT civil rights movement in the United States.

“The designation will create the first official National Park Service unit dedicated to telling the story of LGBT Americans, just days before the one year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision guaranteeing marriage equality in all 50 states.”

The announcement also arrived just before several of the largest LGBT Pride celebrations take place, including in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, and also just before the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots.

“The Stonewall National Monument will pay tribute to the brave individuals who stood up to oppression and helped ignite a fire in a movement to end unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBTQ people,” said Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign.

The riots at the Stonewall Inn are a pivotal part of U.S. history and shaped the modern LGBT civil rights movement.

Griffin said, ” In the early days of our movement, the brave individuals who fought back at Stonewall and at other historic moments, helped inspire countless others. It is our hope that by honoring these pioneers, this new national monument will be a source of inspiration to a new generation of Americans across the country standing up for equality and uniting to show the world that love conquers hate. We are incredibly grateful for President Obama’s leadership in recognizing the LGBTQ community’s contributions to our nation’s march towards liberty and justice for all.”

The new monument will permanently protect Christopher Park, a historic community park at the intersection of Christopher Street, West 4th Street and Grove Street directly across from the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The monument’s boundary encompasses approximately 7.7 acres of land, including Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, “We tell the story of who we are through our national treasures and the president’s decision represents a new definition of inclusivity for our national park system. Stonewall’s tiny urban park has a powerful cultural history — and using the Antiquities Act to declare it a monument helps us preserve for future generations the lesser-told story of the LGBTQ community’s struggle for equality.”

On the Web

The White House released this video about the announcement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywtvJyXDWkk. The video will stream in Times Square over the weekend.