President Barack Obama announced Friday that New York City’s Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, will be recognized as a national monument, the first in the National Park System to be dedicated to LGBTQ Americans.
"Today’s designation follows years of strong support from local officials, organizations, members of Congress, and citizens in New York City and across the country," the White House said in an official statement.
Stonewall Inn sparked the modern movement for LGBTQ rights in June 1969 when gay and transgender patrons — led by trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera — decided to stand up and fight during one of the routine police raids.
Four days of rioting followed.
A year after the riots, the Christopher Street Liberation Day Umbrella Committee sponsored the first ever Pride march. And in the decades since, Pride has evolved into an international celebration of the lives and work of the global LGBTQ community.
"The riots became protests," Obama said in the accompanying video. "The protests became a movement. The movement ultimately became an integral part of America."
His announcement comes on the eve of last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
But, less than two weeks after 49 LGBTQ people in Orlando were murdered at Pulse gay nightclub in the worst mass shooting in modern US history, the president recognized that America still has room for improvement.
"Although the LGBT civil rights movement has made significant progress in the pursuit of equal rights and protections under the law, there is still more work to do," he said. "As seen two weeks ago in Orlando, Florida, LGBT Americans continue to face acts of violence, discrimination, and hate. LGBT people of color are especially at risk. The administration is committed to continuing the fight for dignity, acceptance, and equal rights for all Americans — no matter who they are or who they love."