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Obama on Stonewall National Monument: ‘I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country’

President Barack Obama announced that that the Stonewall Inn – the birthplace of the modern LGBTI rights movement – has been declared a national monument.

The announcement comes just days before the first anniversary of the US Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

‘I’m designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America’s national parks system,’ Obama said in a video.

‘Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights. I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country – the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us. That we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one.’

The White House states that new Stonewall National Monument will permanently protect Christopher Park, a historic community park at the intersection of Christopher Street, West 4th Street and Grove Street directly across from the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

The monument’s boundary encompasses approximately 7.7 acres of land, including Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn, and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the site of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising.

The announcement brought widespread praise from lawmakers and LGBT leaders.

‘Stonewall is finally taking its rightful place in American history, and I am proud to have championed this effort,’ said Congressman Jerrold Nadler.

‘President Obama’s designation of the Stonewall National Monument recognizes that the events of Stonewall launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement here and around the world —like Selma did for racial justice and Seneca Falls did for women’s rights. We are faced with painful reminders daily of how much further we must go to achieve true equality and tolerance for the LGBT community, but honoring and preserving the stories of all of the diverse participants in Stonewall in our National Park System is a clear symbol of how far we have come.’

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  1. From a purely historical stand point the naming of the Stonewall Inn & its surrounding area a national monument makes tremendous sense because for the LGBT civil rights movement it is much more than a site but a highly-charged emotional moment in the Community’s history. Indeed, in many, many ways the whole struggle for LGBT equal rights can be labeled: Pre-Stonewall and Post-Stonewall. And on that night of Stonewall, few if any in the Community could have imagined, dreamed or hoped for the level of progress which has been achieved in this country in such a very short time — although, the struggle is still far from over.

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