On the one-year anniversary of marriage equality, Obama gives the LGBT community a national treasure.
President Obama will designate New York’s historic Stonewall Inn as a National Monument, the White House said on Friday.
The building located at 53 Christopher St, has long been known as the birthplace of the Gay Rights Movement, and its designation today makes it the first such protected LGBT national park to honor those efforts.
The protections will also extend over 7-acres into Christopher Park across the street from the Inn.
The bar has a long history, but it wasn’t until 1966, when a mafia member purchased the pub and made it into a meeting place for LGBT people that it really became well-known.
In the infirm times of civil rights in the late 60’s, police would raid gay clubs to confiscate liquor and arrest men and women for being gay, dressing in drag or simply dancing with one another.
But In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, on what was supposed to be a routine raid, a small crew of New York police officers charged the Stonewall Inn and began taking people into custody, just as they had always done.
However things didn’t go as planned and a small crowd began to form in the street, and when patrol wagons arrived late, the mass grew even more excited.
An arrested lesbian woman struggled with police to loosen her handcuffs, but instead of taking mercy, patrolmen struck her on the head with a billy club.
That was all it took to mobilize the agitated crowd, and they began to riot, throwing bottles and bricks, eventually trying to overturn the patrol wagons.
Two more days of rioting would follow, with radicals reaching into the hundreds.
These actions would mobilize LGBT communities around the country to demand equal rights and inclusion.
Today, President Obama’s recognition of Stonewall Inn as a national monument honors those who have fought so hard for LGBT equality for nearly 50 years.
A statement from the White House affirms the efforts of LGBT leaders and activists, but also acknowledges the struggles the community still faces.
“Although the LGBT civil rights movement has made significant progress in the pursuit of equal rights and protections under the law, there is still more work to do," said the release. "As seen two weeks ago in Orlando, FL, LGBT Americans continue to face acts of violence, discrimination, and hate. LGBT people of color are especially at risk. The Administration is committed to continuing the fight for dignity, acceptance and equal rights for all Americans — no matter who they are or who they love.”