President Barack Obama announced today that the Stonewall Inn – the birthplace of the modern LGBTI rights movement – has been declared a national monument.
The announcement comes just days before the first anniversary of the US Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
‘I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s national parks system,’ Obama said in a video.
‘Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. 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 White House states that new Stonewall National 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.
The announcement brought widespread praise from lawmakers and LGBTI leaders.
‘Stonewall is finally taking its rightful place in American history, and I am proud to have championed this effort,’ said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.
‘President Obama’s designation of the Stonewall National Monument recognizes that the events of Stonewall launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement here and around the world —like Selma did for racial justice and Seneca Falls did for women’s rights. 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.’
Russell Roybal, deputy executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force called the historic designation ‘a great tribute the courage, leadership, and action of the LGBTQ community in our continuing quest for full freedom, justice and equality.’
‘Trans and gender non-conforming people of color led the riots at Stonewall nearly five decades ago — and it is a cruel irony that today these folks face some of the highest levels of poverty, homelessness, discrimination and violence in our community. So while the Christopher Street Park National Monument will provide a focus for our community in times of happiness and in times of grief, it will also provide a vital beacon of inspiration as we continue the struggle for lived liberation,’ Roybal said.