Earlier this month, NYC’s LGBT Community Center launched Stonewall Forever, a “living monument” celebrating 50 years of Pride.
The monument is the first of its kind, and was created by The LGBT Community Center and the National Park Service, with the additional support of Google. Although it’s physically in New York City, the “living” part of it allows users from all over the world to educate themselves online. Both Floyd and Testone think this monument will be a great resource to share the story of Stonewall across the globe.
Stonewall Forever features Augmented reality (AR) experience as well as an on the web experience. The digital monument shows a Ro Haber documentary about the past 50 years of LGBTQ activism as well as how the story of Stonewall began.
Visitors can add their own stories to the monument through picture and text. The monument already has some famous contributors such as Naomi Campbell, Lance Bass, Lena Waithe, and Cynthia Nixon, to name a few.
Metro spoke with William Floyd the Director of Public Policy and Public Affairs at Google who helped bring the idea to life with the help of NYC’s LGBT Community Center. He said that partnership was formed because “Immediately after the designation [of the Stonewall National Monument], I reached out to The Center to see how we could help. We knew the monument needed money, but after our first conversation, we realized we could do more. “
Floyd told Metro a bit about what inspired the virtual monument, saying, “More than a physical site, Stonewall is an idea that sparked a worldwide movement that still exists. Together we took up the challenge: how can technology expand the monument’s reach and connect it to the community’s continued struggle for equal rights?”
The creation process for the virtual monument took about two years. Google volunteers, in collaboration with Stink Studios, worked to transform the physical moment into a virtually shared experience.
Its goal is to ensure all voices of Stonewall and the LGBTQ movement are heard. Glennda Testone, Executive Director of NYC’s LGBT Community Center, spoke with Metro about the importance of amplifying these voices. Floyd also echoed that this project was to help make sure that the diverse story of Stonewall remains inclusive.
The significance of this monument goes far beyond sharing these voices Testone told Metro, “The Stonewall Monument is an acknowledgment by our country that queer people matter and that our fight for civil rights is part of American history. So, I really see it as a warranted validation of our existence, something that will stand far beyond me…”
The NYC LGBT Community Center and Google want to encourage all visitors to add their stories to the monuments, so their voices can be heard around the world.
Both hope that this living monument helps visitors connect the past to present and realize the battle for equality is still far from over.