NEW YORK — Pride Live, a social advocacy and community engagement organization for the LGBTQ+ community, announced plans this week to open the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center (SNMVC).
When opened, it will be the first LGBTQ+ welcome center within the National Park Service (NPS), system of parks and monuments. According to organizers, the center marks a historic achievement and a leap forward in American history. SNMVC is scheduled to open in the summer of 2024 and will occupy nearly 3,700 square feet at 51 Christopher Street, between Waverly Place and 7e South Avenue in New York.
Pride Live also noted that with the support of Google, the inauguration ceremony will be broadcast live on youtube.com/c/pridelive at 10:30 a.m. ET on June 24.
When the Stonewall Rebellion took place on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn consisted of two locations – 53 Christopher Street, where the current Stonewall Inn bar is located today, and 51 Christopher Street.
Located at 51 Christopher Street, the future home of the SNMVC will bring together the historic Stonewall Inn and commemorate the events of the Stonewall Rebellion in their authentic locations.
“The opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center is a remarkable moment in the history of Stonewall,” said Ann Marie Gothard, chair of the board of directors of Pride Live. “We pay tribute to all those who came before us, especially those gay men who fought for equality during the Stonewall Rebellion. The designation as a national monument and the opening of this welcome center will commemorate their important legacy in the gay rights movement and will hopefully inspire future generations to continue to fight for LGBTQ+ equality.
In a press release, PrideLive noted, “With a mission to preserve, advance and celebrate the legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion and the Stonewall National Monument, the SNMVC will serve as a beacon for generations to come, providing the unique opportunity to visit the very site where history was made and where the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality has visibly changed with new waves of activism. SNMVC will provide an immersive experience inviting all people to explore and learn about LGBTQ+ history and culture through in-person and virtual tours, speaker series, exhibits and visual arts presentations. Additionally, the SNMVC will serve as the home base for dedicated National Park Service rangers, who are responsible for the preservation of Stonewall National Monument.
“The designation of Stonewall as a national monument is an important step in commemorating a priceless historic monument that represents the courage, hope and triumph of the LGBTQ community,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. “As President Biden stated in Title VII, ‘every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear,’ and the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will serve as a place where the community LGBTQ will be able to come together safely to celebrate and commemorate its hard-fought history.
“The new Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will serve as an important memorial to the Stonewall Uprising, an iconic and pivotal moment in the essential effort to fully realize America’s founding ideal that we are all created. equal,” said U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer. “I am proud that New York will be home to the first LGBTQ+ Welcome Center within the National Park Service, honoring the LGBTQ+ community and its history. As a proud parent of an LGBTQ+ person, I will never stop fighting discrimination without precedent and unfairness that the LGBTQ+ community continues to face today.
Founding supporters of SNMVC include Google – the first business partner to sign up, Kors Le Pere Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., AARP, Target, David Yurman, Amazon, National Football League, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi , Lana and Lilly Wachowski, United Therapeutics, New York Yankees and global activist and ally Josephine Skriver, who made the inaugural donation to the campaign.
“Creating safe and inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ community is essential, and we are proud to support the opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, a space that will commemorate Stonewall’s legacy,” said William Floyd, Senior Director public policies. at Google. “This grand opening is a significant moment in LGBTQ history, and we are thrilled to share this remarkable occasion with a global audience through our YouTube live stream.”
Designated by President Barack Obama on June 24, 2016, Stonewall National Monument comprises the 0.19 acre formerly known as Christopher Park and surrounding streets, including Christopher Street adjacent to the park. Stonewall National Monument is America’s first national monument dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights and history.
The journey of recognizing LGBTQ+ history as American history was facilitated by entrepreneur, philanthropist and LGBTQ+ activist Tim Gill.
In 2014, the Gill Foundation recognized a glaring omission of historic LGBTQ sites from the nation’s official records, and the organization awarded a grant to the National Park Service to commission a first of its kind. Study on the LGBTQ themepublished in 2016. A separate advocacy campaign to designate Stonewall National Monument was led by the National Parks Conservation Association, which worked with elected officials, NPS, historians and community actors, and culminated in 2016.
“The Stonewall National Monument provides the LGBTQ+ community with a physical representation of the struggle for justice and equal treatment under the law and in our society,” said Assemblywoman Deborah J. Glick. “This place helps interpret the long journey of our community and is a way to teach all Americans who we are. I was proud to be part of the effort to create this monument and am thrilled to see the grand opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center, which will truly make LGBTQ+ history part of what draws people to New York and lends weight to our historic recording.”
“I was proud to support the effort to designate the first-ever national monument in LGBTQ+ history at the historic site of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “The opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will allow Americans to learn more about these critical events in our history. Now more than ever, it is essential that we recognize the events at Stonewall that launched the modern civil rights movement. LGBTQ+ here and around the world. Since President Obama designated the monument, millions of Americans have had the chance to learn more about these historic events. This new visitor center will honor the legacy of the brave members of the LGBTQ+ community who fought for their civil rights and will support those who continue to fight for full equality today.
The Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will be funded by donations from the community and its allies. To support this historic effort, please visit www.stonewallvisitorcenter.org or text REBEL to 243725.
For more information, visit www.stonewallvisitorcenter.org