New York City's First Lady Chirlaine McCray marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots at an LGBTQ Pride event Friday afternoon in Greenwich Village.
McCray pointed to the Trump Administration when noting the challenges LGBTQ people still face today in their continuing fight for equal rights.
"We must do more to protect trans women of color," she said. "We must do more to protect LGBTQ young people who are forced from their homes...And we must stand strong against hateful attacks from the White House."
McCray addressed the crowd to open the day's festivities, discussing the historic implications of the gay liberation movement of the late-'60s.
"Fifty years ago, a movement began right here," McCray said. "Brave LGBTQ activists put their lives on the line. They demanded dignity. They demanded change. They said, 'We're here; we're trans; we're queer.'"
But the work that began at Stonewall isn't over; McCray continued by saying that protecting LGBTQ people remains a focus of her husband's mayoral administration.
She noted that New York City began Pride Month by honoring Stonewall activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera with the "first-ever permanent artwork to honor trans women in the world."
Pride Month, she concluded, is now more than ever "a show of our strength. Together, we are changing the world."
In the 1960s, it was still illegal in most states to be gay, with no laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination. There were no openly gay politicians or pop culture icons in America.
The NYPD was notorious for its strict enforcement of anti-gay laws in the 1950s and '60s, and gay clubs in New York were routinely raided by police of the era.
Named for the historic Stonewall Inn, where the riots began, the Stonewall uprising is credited with sparking a generation of activism in the LGBTQ community.
With the gay rights movement building momentum in the late-'60s, police raided the Stonewall Inn one night in late-June for the last time. Patrons tired of police harassment resisted officers.
Fights between patrons and police broke out. Word spread through the neighborhood that police were trying to shut down the bar and a crowd gathered on Christopher Street outside the Stonewall.
Crowds pressed back against police, igniting a riot that swept through Manhattan. The ensuing six days of disorder and protest, centered around the Stonewall.
Weeks later, organizers led a "gay power" march from Washington Square Park to Stonewall that, again, drew hundreds of demonstrators and press coverage in the city.
The following year, June 28, 1970, thousands returned to Greenwich Village for the first Christopher Street Liberation Day march, which morphed into the annual Pride parades celebrated today in cities around the world.
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