Citing the Orlando, Fla., terrorist attack as a symptom of challenges faced by LGBT Americans, President Barack Obama on Friday officially named the area around New York’s Stonewall Inn as a national monument.
The Stonewall Inn was the site of rioting by gays after a police raid in 1969. At the time, laws forbade selling alcohol to gays. The riots have been hailed as one of the turning points in the gay rights movement.
“I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s National Park System,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”
The Stonewall National Monument will include the bar, which remains open, as well as the area near Christopher Park across from the Stonewall Inn. Inclusion of the 8-acre site as part of the federal park system has been planned for months and came after city and state officials cleared the way for the land to be included in the federal park system.
Obama’s announcement comes as June’s Pride Month is nearing its conclusion and New York City gears up for its Pride Week celebrations Saturday.
The White House release announcing the designation made a clear reference to the June 12 mass shooting, in which Omar Mateen, who pledged allegiance to ISIS while making his attack, killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando.
“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,” the release said. “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.”
h/t: The Hill