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FROM STONEWALL TO NOW: PRIDE MONTH AND BLM

Happy Pride Month! It’s OK, you’ll be forgiven if you forgot about that, what with everything else that’s going on in the world right now. But yeah, here we are in June, commemorating the riots at the Stonewall Inn in NYC’s Greenwich Village.

They began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when police raids of gay bars were common. The patrons of the Stonewall Inn and other Village gay bars fought back when the cops became violent. Then, there were more protests…and still more several nights later. And thus a movement was born—one that led to, among other things, marriage equality. Just this week, that movement influenced a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that finally outlaws employer discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identification in all 50 states.

Sound familiar? It should. Because history is repeating itself before our very eyes. Millions of black parents forced to have “the talk” about policing in America with their kids. George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner—the list of black people murdered by police goes on and on. The black community has had enough and is fighting back. After more than three weeks of protests, a massive shift in public opinion is underway.

I urge my LGBTQ friends and colleagues to aid this pushback in whatever form or fashion makes sense for you. We cannot remain silent on the Black Lives Matter movement while celebrating Pride month. That will most certainly cause a disruption in The Force.

It’s simple: Stonewall became a riot because of persistent police brutality against our community. It is our historic legacy. We must stand today with our black and brown brothers and sisters as they face down the very same type of injustice.

Oh—and while you’re sanitizing and wiping everything down thanks to COVID-19, perhaps you can do your best to wipe hatred of “the other” out of your heart. That’s a virus too.

GLF photo by Diana Davies/courtesy of the New York Public Library

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