U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation on December 10th to create the Stonewall National Historic Site. This site would be the nation’s first national park site dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history.
The Stonewall National Historic Site will help preserve, protect, and interpret the site of the Stonewall uprising, considered the start of the LGBT civil rights movement in America, for the benefit of present and future generations. As part of the National Park System, creation of the Stonewall National Historic Site will add to our historic understanding of the discrimination faced by LGBT individuals as well as the ongoing struggle to achieve civil rights for LGBT persons. Uniquely and importantly, a national park in Greenwich Village would invigorate historic preservation of LGBT history in the neighborhood, where the modern LGBT equal rights movement began in the summer of 1969.
“A Stonewall National Historic Site will help ensure that we do not forget the legacy of Stonewall, the history of discrimination against the LGBT community, or the impassioned individuals who have fought to overcome it,” said Congressman Nadler. “The story of Stonewall and those who participated in it are American stories that deserve to be recognized and preserved. Expanding our National Parks system to include the location of the spark that launched the LGBT civil rights movement will protect it for future generations to reflect on and learn from.”
“At the end of this momentous year for gay rights in America, I am proud to introduce legislation that would establish a Stonewall National Historic Site,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The events at Stonewall in 1969 were a turning point for the LGBT rights movement in America – a critical chapter, alongside Selma and Seneca Falls, in the long history of America’s quest for equal rights. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to pass this bill and designate Stonewall a national historic site.”
“Independence Hall, the Gettysburg address, Seneca Falls, Rosa parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott: It’s time for the Stonewall Inn to take its place in the panoply of sites and events that were sparks in the march to the kind of freedom and equality that is the very wellspring of the American Dream,” said Senator Schumer. “Making the Stonewall Inn site a unit of the National Park system is the right thing to do. The summer of 1969 kicked off a long and uphill struggle for LGBT equality. And it was a movement that changed the country for the better. Now it is time for America to honor that history by establishing this park and ensuring others henceforth know and understand their courage and their accomplishments. I’m proud to have introduced this legislation and will do all I can to see it passes with flying colors.”
Two-thirds of America’s more than 400 national park sites are dedicated to cultural and historic significance. Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held there in July 1848, and the struggle for equality and civil rights. The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, a national park site, traces the march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the struggle for equal voting rights for African Americans. The Stonewall National Historic Site will tell the story of the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights in America, and is integral to fully incorporating the diverse range of LGBT experiences into our nation’s history. The events that happened around Stonewall honor unique stories of American history and its legacy is a part of the push for human rights and civil rights in the United States.
"The Stonewall uprising was a critical moment in our nation's pursuit of liberty and justice for all. It helped to ignite a movement to end unfair and unjust discrimination against LGBT people – which we continue to fight for today," said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. " A Stonewall National Historic Site would pay tribute to the brave individuals who stood up to oppression, and it would also help inspire a new generation of Americans across the country to stand up for equality. We are proud to support this legislation and the efforts of national, state, and local advocates to honor this key moment in the fabric of our nation’s history.”
“Two-thirds of America’s more than 400 national parks are dedicated to sites with cultural and historical significance, including women’s rights and the civil rights movement,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association. “Yet none are dedicated to the struggle for LGBT rights. This legislation, introduced by Senators Gillibrand and Schumer and Congressman Nadler, would change that and help ensure our national parks tell the stories of all Americans. Their efforts underscore both the need and support for a national park site for Stonewall and we commend them for taking this significant step in helping to make that happen.”
Earlier this year, a national campaign was launched to push for the creation of a Stonewall National Monument. Organized by Congressman Nadler, the list of officials announcing their support included U.S. Senators Gillibrand and Schumer, eleven Members of Congress, thirteen New York State Senators, 37 New York State Assembly Members, five New York City Council Members, as well as the New York City Comptroller, Public Advocate, and Manhattan Borough President.