June 28 will now be known as Stonewall Day – so hope Pride Live Nation, in a new initiative to both celebrate the legendary location and raise awareness of the needs of the queer community. This first Stonewall Day will take place on the 49th anniversary of the riots – seen by many as the birth of the modern gay rights movement.
The event, a commemorative day of activism and fundraising for essential queer causes, has been created by the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative – a Pride Live Nation charity. The Initiative was set up to provide “educational, strategic and financial assistance to grassroots organisations committed to advocacy for and crucial support to LGBT+ individuals and communities.”
In the US, where the trans community has seen basic human rights stripped away by a regressive government and cases of queer discrimination based on ‘religious freedom’ (businesses have the choice to refuse service to an LGBT+ person) have received rising media attention, the initiative is seen as a much needed pushback.
As the charity states, “Not only do LGBT+ Americans still suffer the indignities and fear arising from the kind of social intolerance of the past, but, increasingly many state legislatures promote legislation designed to inhibit or even reverse LGBT+ civil rights achievements of the past 50 years.”
The Stonewall riots began on June 28, 1969 when the queer community finally fought back against a constant series of police raids against the patrons of the Stonewall Inn – a popular LGBT+ bar, rioting in protest. Protests reemerged over many nights, with the queer community mobilised into fighting for LGBT+ rights through the formation of activist organisations – the birth of the modern gay rights movement.
The current owners of the bar, Kurt Kelly and Stacy Lentz, spoke of their recognised responsibility to help the queer community through the figurehead of The Stonewall Inn. “The Stonewall Inn has a long tradition of hosting fundraisers and events and giving back to the community, and we are excited about continuing this work through The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.”
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