Today, New York City’s LGBT Community Center, Google and the National Parks Service launched Stonewall Forever, a “living” monument to 50 years of Pride, to half a century of resilience, and to many more years of resistance.
When one enters the site, which went live on Tuesday morning, a camera pans over the Manhattan with a rainbow pouring from the Stonewall Inn site in the Village, as a voiceover begins the tale:
“Fifty years ago in a tiny bar called the Stonewall Inn, LGBTQ people fought back against years of oppression. Today, the legacy of the Stonewall riots lives on around the world in every pride march and in every member of the LGBTQ community. This monument lives so we can all explore this crucial history and add our own piece to the ever-growing story.”
The project itself seeks to find, preserve and share the untold stories of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the early years of the LGBTQ rights movement, and especially seeks those untold, or forgotten, or erased voices within the LGBTQ community, such as Marsha P. Johnson, who is finally getting her flowers (I bet that bouquet is a fabulous array of purple).
The cool part is that you don’t have to be in New York City to pay homage to Stonewall. Through a generous grant from Google, the monument has been scaled from a physical location into a shared experience, where “anyone, anywhere can step inside the monument online or in augmented reality (AR) and add their own story,” according to a press release sent to The Root.
So how does it work?
Beginning today, June 4, the Stonewall Forever Living Monument will be live and accessible via the web, mobile app, and as an AR experience in Christopher Street Park in the West Village. Visitors will have the ability to add their own piece of LGBTQ history to the monument in the form of uploaded images and text—from anywhere in the world.
Stonewall Forever was created through a partnership between The Center and the National Park Service, with the help of a $1.5 million grant from google.org.
“Creating Stonewall Forever with support from Google presented the rare opportunity to broaden the story of the Stonewall Riots and provide a richer, more diverse narrative about one of the most influential events in the fight for LGBTQ equality,” said Glennda Testone, Executive Director New York’s LGBT Community Center. “We were proud to serve as the conduit to the community to bring a wide variety of voices to the narrative, particularly from people of color, young people and the trans community, and are honored to be part of preserving LGBTQ history.”
Stonewall Forever also features an original short documentary from director Ro Haber. Co-produced by Stink Studios, the film explores life before, during and after the Stonewall Riots; it also explains how that “we’s tired and can’t take it no more” action grew into what we know today as Pride.
“I came on to this project to show an inter-generational portrait of activism from the time of Stonewall up to today,” said Haber in a release. “It’s so important to look to our queer elders for their perspective about how to tackle the struggles we continue to face. We need to show the varied faces of queer and trans activism; we are not a monolith and will never be. ... this film doesn’t act as a definitive history by any means. But it does give voice to some extraordinary people involved in the movement both then and today.”
In addition, today’s Google Doodle spans 50 years of Pride, with animated illustrations by Nate Swinehart. The tech behemoth has also launched the Pride Forever campaign, which shares LGBTQ+ history with its users (which is like, the whole entire world).
Happy Pride, and get up on that!