Online tribute brings Stonewall to life, virtually

BY GABE HERMAN | An online interactive tribute to the Stonewall Riots launched earlier this month, in time for the 50th anniversary of the historic event.

Called “Stonewall Forever: A Living Monument to 50 Years of Pride,” it can be found at stonewallforever.org.

The online tribute was created by a collaboration between the L.G.B.T. Community Center, which was founded in the Village in 1983, and the National Parks Service. A $1.5 million grant for the initiative was provided by google.org, Google’s philanthropic wing.

The online Stonewall Forever monument. (Courtesy Stonewallforever.org)

An introductory voice greets visitors to the Web site.

“Fifty years ago,” viewers are told, “in a tiny bar called the Stonewall Inn, L.G.B.T.Q. 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 L.G.B.T.Q. community. This monument lives so we all can explore this crucial history and add our own piece to the ever-growing story.”

The site allows anyone to contribute to the online monument by submitting a statement — such as personal stories or words of encouragement — and a photo. People from around the world, from Taiwan to Brussels, have already contributed to the site.

Cynthia Nixon posted something, as well.

“I was 3 when the Stonewall Uprising occurred in my own city — the most seminal, victorious moment in L.G.B.T. history,” she wrote. “We have far to go but seeing how far we’ve come in my lifetime I am so grateful.”

The Web site also includes a 21-minute video, “Stonewall Forever — A Documentary about the Past, Present and Future of Pride.”

The L.G.B.T. Community Center is one of the groups behind the online monument. (Courtesy lgbtcenternyc/Instagram)

“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 L.G.B.T.Q. equality,” Glennda Testone, executive director of the L.G.B.T. Community Center, said of the online monument. “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 L.G.B.T.Q. history.”

The online monument includes a virtual look inside Christopher Park, right across from the Stonewall Inn, with graphics that look like bright rainbow confetti rising to the sky. Some pieces are glowing and can be clicked on to access different sections of the monument.

The Stonewall Inn, at 53 Chrisopher St. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

Each of the online monument’s sections is about a different era or topic, and each includes historical photos and testimonials from people who lived through the times.

The first section is “Life Before Stonewall.” The second, “The Stonewall Riots,” features spotlights on the late trans activists Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. The de Blasio administration plans to honor the pioneering pair with statues, possibly two blocks east of Stonewall at the Ruth Wittenberg Triangle, at the intersection of Greenwich and Sixth Aves. and Christopher St.

Other sections include “The First Year of Pride,” “50 years of Pride,” “Activism Then and Now,” and “Love and Solidarity.”

The site also offers a free app to download, which will give an augmented-reality experience for visitors to the actual Christopher Park.

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