NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – A visitor center dedicated to telling the story of LGBTQ rights movement will open next to the Stonewall Inn, according to an announcement Tuesday by the nonprofit that will run the center in partnership with the National Park Service.
The groundbreaking for the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York will take place on Friday, with the center expected to open in the summer of 2024, said Ann Marie Gothard, president of Pride Live, an LGBTQ advocacy organization , said.
“The opening of the Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center is a remarkable moment in the history of Stonewall,” Gothard said. “We honor everyone who came before us, especially the strangers who are fighting for equality in the Stonewall riots.”
The Stonewall National Monument became the first U.S. national monument to be dedicated to LGBTQ history when it was dedicated in 2016 across from the Stonewall Inn, where patrons fought back against a police raid on June 28, 1969, and aided the contemporary LGBTQ to stimulate rights movement. .
The Stonewall Rebellion is commemorated every year with Pride marches in cities across the US and the world.
This year’s Pride Month in New York kicked off on June 1 with the inauguration of a rainbow flag at the Stonewall Monument, the first rainbow flag to fly on federal soil daily. The ceremony followed a years-long struggle by activists to ensure that a rainbow flag would fly on federal ground at the Stonewall monument.
The 7.7-acre monument contains the park known Christopher Park, across from the Stonewall, but does not include the Stonewall itself, which is still a bar. The visitor center will be housed in the shopping front next to Stonewall, which was part of the bar in 1969.
Gothard said when the national monument was created in 2016, “it became clear that a visitor center was needed.”
The Stonewall Visitor Center will host personal and virtual tours, lectures and visual art exhibits dedicated to the history of the LGBTQ rights movement, Gothard said.
Although managed by Pride Live, the center will also serve as a home base for National Park Service staff members.
“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 LGBTQ community can safely gather to to celebrate and commemorate its hard-fought history, ”said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, whose department includes the park service, in a statement.
Corporations including Google and JPMorgan Chase provide funding for the center.
“It is vital to create safe and inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ community, 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, Google’s senior director of public. policy.