Ground was broken last week on a visitor center at one of the key locations for the start of the nation’s LGBTQ movement.
The new visitor center is set to open in 2024 at the Stonewall National Monument, a location designed to highlight the impact and importance of New York’s Stonewall Inn.
The center will feature exhibits and art installations by LGBTQ artists, host events, and tell the story of the Stonewall Inn’s place in history.
“It’s important to remember where we come from, not just Stonewall, but beyond it too,” Geena Rocero, an advocate who serves as chair of Stonewall Day, told Vogue. “We have to ground ourselves in history, and this center will help us do just that.”
Located in Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn uprising took place in 1969 when violent demonstrations broke out during a police raid at the gay bar.
The uprising led to the formation of many gay rights groups and is considered one of the key moments in the advocacy movement.
“This was intended to be, and still is, a day of great celebration,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said at the groundbreaking, according to Spectrum News. “Long time coming. In fact, 53 years in coming that there finally is the appropriate recognition for what went on here many, many, many decades ago.”
The 3,700-square-foot center will be located next door to the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in the heart of Greenwich Village.
“It started right here, and we’re so proud of that history,” Hochul said. “And we cherish that history and we honor that history. And today we begin the groundbreaking for something that’s going to be there for generations to come.”
The visitor center will be the first LGBTQ location of its kind in the National Park System.
“Long after we’re gone, we want this story to be told, this story to be an inspiration,” Hochul said.
The groundbreaking took place on the same day that the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, a decision Hochul tied to the gay rights movement.
“We will cherish your rights. We’ll honor them and we’ll send a message to the rest of the nation,” Hochul said. “If your state does not respect you, does not treat you with the rights that we think you have here in New York, then [what] are you doing in those other states? Come to New York.”
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