Forty eight seems like a long time ago to some of us. For others, it feels like yesterday. But whether you were in the west village 48 years ago, or weren’t even a glint in your parents’ eyes, what happened at Stonewall on this day changed the course of history. Marsha P. Johnson, we thank you and everyone who stood up with you.
We used to make the trip to Stonewall once in a blue moon. Each visit was filled with emotion, thinking of the brave people who took a stand. We would imagine the evening that would change everything. These days standing at the Stonewall National Monument is a regular occurrence as we gather, sometimes multiple times a week, to remember and rally, to come together to resist an onslought of policies and rhetoric aimed at diminshing LGBTQI people, our experiences, and our needs.
But we are New Yorkers, and the legacy of Stonewall is ours to uphold and ours to honor. So much has changed since that day in 1969, and for too many of us not enough has changed. This is a vastly better state in which to be LGBTQI than most, but we cannot ignore that we are still in the struggle to ensure that ALL LGBTQI people in this state, no matter where we live, the color of our skin, our origin and family stories, our economic status, our immigration status, can safely be ourselves, celebrated and supported as we should be.
Right here in New York we still have not passed the Gender Expression Non-discrimination Act. We still have not banned the abhorrent and abusive practice known as conversion therapy. We still haven’t passed the Child-Parent Security Act, or the Liberty Act, or sufficiently funded services to support our homeless youth, ensure foster parents are culturally competent to support our youth, or made our schools safe enough, ensured accessible and appropriate healthcare, and so much more.
That’s why we’re here. Stonewall is our legacy, our living legacy to uphold and to teach, and to continue. We do not stop because some of our needs have been met. No, we take every win as fuel for our drive towards equality and justice. That is what is at the heart of Equality New York. This is your organization, your vehicle to create the New York we believe we can be. What will you do with it?
Forty Eight years ago a diverse and attacked group of us decided to take a stand and New York and the world has never been the same. What will this state look like 48 years from now? That’s up to you.
Gabriel Blau and Eunic Ortiz