Senate Democrats introduced a resolution on Wednesday (26 June) honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. This is the first time the United States Senate has ever formally acknowledged the events that kicked off the modern LGBTI rights movement.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), the first ever openly gay candidate elected to the Senate, led the resolution’s introduction.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), who’s running for president, also joined Baldwin.
The resolution boasts several other co-sponsors, including presidential hopefuls. Some of them are Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), Sen. Cory Booker (NJ), Sen. Michael Bennet (CO), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
‘Stonewall is a story of those who came before us and let their voices be heard. Those that bravely stood up and spoke out so that others wouldn’t feel compelled to live in silence,’ Baldwin stated in her introduction.
‘When we look back at the Stonewall uprising and activism that grew out of that moment, even the most basic progress seemed like it would take a revolution to achieve. So we had one. And that’s how we’ve made such enormous progress over the last 50 years.’
Gillibrand added: ‘Fifty years after the Stonewall Uprising, we all have a responsibility to keep fighting until we finally secure full equal rights for the LGBTQ community.’
What does the resolution say?
‘During the time around the opening of the Stonewall Inn, many State and local governments, including New York City, criminalized how LGBTQ individuals express their identities and relationships, which resulted in LGBTQ individuals frequently being harassed by law enforcement, including the New York City Police Department (NYPD),’ the resolution states, providing context for the riot.
When the resolution details what happened on the evening of 28 June 1969, it specifically mentions transgender women of color.
‘Brave individuals, particularly transgender women of color, stood up to injustice the night of June 28, 1969,’ it reads. ‘Which sparked an uprising against the NYPD, with confrontations and protests at the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area lasting until July 3, 1969.’
The resolution describes the event’s impact on the LGBTI community.
It states the Stonewall Riots ’empowered’ LGBTI people to ’emerge from the shadows and come out publicly as they stood up for their community’.
Finally, the document concludes by resolving to mark the anniversary of Stonewall and condemn violence against the LGBTI community.
Tomorrow morning (27 June), Baldwin will deliver a speech commemorating the Stonewall Riots.