The Stonewall Inn in New York, site of the landmark 1969 riots that paved the way for the modern LGBTQ rights movement, will remain open through the pandemic thanks to a $250,000 donation.
The Washington Blade reports that the Gill Foundation, which provides grants to queer organizations across the U.S., pledged the quarter-million-dollar donation to help cover rent and utility bills while the bar is temporarily shut down due to COVID-19.
“Stonewall is a cornerstone of LGBTQ history and it must be protected. LGBTQ history is American history,” the Gill Foundation said in a statement. “Queer people of color — including trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and Miss Major — led the uprisings against police brutality at Stonewall and in doing so helped spark the movement for LGBTQ equality. We must preserve that history and the legacy of the activists who led the charge.”
As with many bars, restaurants and other nightlife venues affected by the pandemic, the Stonewall Inn has suffered financially from its temporary closure due to social distancing measures. The bar’s staff began soliciting donations earlier this month, with owners Kurt Kelly and Stacy Lentz launching a GoFundMe campaign.
“As the first and only LGBTQ National Monument, Stonewall is home not only to the history of our community but also the history of our city and country. We are beyond grateful for this generous pledge that will help us keep the history alive,” Kelly and Lentz said of the pledge.
The Stonewall Riots occurred over several nights beginning on June 28th, 1969, after police raided the bar to arrest gay and transgender patrons. The following year, LGBTQ organizers in New York launched the first Pride March to commemorate the uprising, and Pride events throughout the world continue to this day. In 2016, President Barack Obama deemed the Stonewall Inn a national monument, the first LGBTQ historical site to fall under that distinction.
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