Legislation Would Preserve Historic Site and Stories of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion
WASHINGTON – The country’s first national park site dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history is one step closer to becoming a reality with the introduction of key legislation in Congress. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer introduced in the Senate and Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced in the House of Representatives identical legislation that would create a national park site for historic Stonewall.
The area around Stonewall in New York City’s Greenwich Village, including Christopher Park, is often considered the birthplace of the modern LGBT equal rights movement, when a rebellion broke out there in the summer of 1969.
“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.”
Elected officials representing all levels of government in New York, as well as LGBT organizations, and many thousands of individuals have sent letters to President Obama in support of designating Stonewall a national park site.
“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.”
“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, and the impassioned individuals who have fought to overcome it,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “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.”
“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 Monument 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.”
There are cultural and historic national park sites throughout the national park system. Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held there in July 1848, and the struggle for equality and civil rights. 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. A national park at Stonewall would tell the story of the LGBT community’s fight for equal rights in America. And it 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.
Learn more about the push to create a national park for Stonewall and add your support by signing the petition at: www.npca.org/natlparkforstonewall.
Join the conversation online with #NatlParkForStonewall.
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.