History was made on Friday when President Barack Obama designated the first monument honoring the history of the LGBT movement in the nation, right in the heart of New York City.
Just days before the Big Apple celebrates the LGBT community in what is expected to be the largest NYC Pride March in history, Obama announced that he would be designating the Stonewall National Monument across the street from the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.
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The site — which will be located at Christopher Park across the street from the Stonewall Inn — will honor the LGBT equality movement and remember the 1969 Stonewall Uprising during which sparked members of the LGBT community to begin fighting for their civil rights. A year following the rots, activists put on the nation’s first gay rights parade which later evolved into LGBT Pride Month.
“Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights,” Obama said. “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. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one."
The Stonewall Inn is already a National Historic Landmark and both the inn and park are currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who in April signed legislation allowing New York City to transfer Christopher Park to the federal government, applauded the president’s announcement and said he’s proud of the continuous push for equal rights for all New Yorkers.
"There is no more fitting location for the first monument to LGBT history than Christopher Park across from the Stonewall Inn. Since 1969, New York has led the nation in the fight for LGBT rights,” Cuomo said. “The Stonewall National Monument will honor that history of progress, and I am proud to have signed legislation to help create a symbol that demonstrates to the world how much we have achieved and how much more we must accomplish for equality for all."
Other elected officials voiced their support for Obama’s decision, saying that the monument will allow New Yorkers and visitors alike to honor “the many brave individuals who stood up for their rights then and since.”
“There is no better time to acknowledge Stonewall as a national monument – a place that is central to our history and our values, not only as a city but as a nation,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am proud to stand here today with those who have fought for equality, justice and love at a site that serves as a profound symbol of a painful past, a hopeful future, and the transformative change that happens when New Yorkers take action.”