This morning, I read the excerpt below in the archived files of The Writer’s Almanac. It’s an important part of our American history and it is disheartening to know that while we have come so far, LGBTQ+ folks are still subject to violence, hatred and fear and are having to fight tooth and nail to be included, revered and accepted in 2023.
The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor
In the early hours of this day in 1969, the Stonewall riots broke out in New York City, marking the beginning of the gay rights movement. The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village was a popular hangout for gays, lesbians, and transvestites in the late 1960s. On June 28, police raided the bar on the premise that they were selling alcohol without a liquor license. It was the third raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar in a short period of time, and this time when the cops cleared the bar, the patrons didn’t disperse, but milled around outside, hurtling insults and bottles at the police. The officers called for reinforcements and barricaded themselves inside the bar. The riots lasted five days; they galvanized and unified smaller gay rights movements and led to the radical activism of the 1970s. On the first anniversary of the riots, the first gay pride parades were held in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.
In David Carter’s book Stonewall (2004), he quotes witness Michael Fader: “We weren’t going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around — it’s like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that’s what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.”
Wide Open Wednesday Writing Prompt ~ What event galvanized and unified you and your friends, colleagues or community? Describe it in such detail that you galvanize your reader.