President Barack Obama on Friday
announced the first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) rights.
“This week I'm designating the
Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America's
national park system,” Obama said in a video announcement.
“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,” Obama said.
The monument includes Christopher Park,
the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding area that was part of the 1969
Historians often credit the June 28,
1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village as a major
flashpoint for the gay rights movement. While such raids at the time
were common at gay bars, patrons on this night, many of whom were
drag queens, resisted arrest.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate,
applauded the move.
“The Stonewall National Monument will
pay tribute to the brave individuals who stood up to oppression and
helped ignite a fire in a movement to end unfair and unjust
discrimination against LGBTQ people,” Griffin said in a statement.
“The announcement is especially significant following the horrific
massacre in Orlando, a heartbreaking reminder of the hate and
violence we continue to face as a community. In the early days of our
movement, the brave individuals who fought back at Stonewall and at
other historic moments, helped inspire countless others. It is our
hope that by honoring these pioneers, this new national monument will
be a source of inspiration to a new generation of Americans across
the country standing up for equality and uniting to show the world
that love conquers hate. We are incredibly grateful for President
Obama’s leadership in recognizing the LGBTQ community’s
contributions to our nation’s march towards liberty and justice for
The Stonewall Inn was placed on the
National Register of Historic Places in 1999 and was named a New York
City landmark last year.