Two events planned in commemoration
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LGBT community members in the Queen City are preparing to commemorate the 44th anniversary of the June 28, 1969, Stonewall Riots this weekend. Following a week when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two historic rulings on gay marriage, the weekend’s events are likely to take on even more celebratory mood.
The Stonewall Riots were launched in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, in response to repeated police raids on a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The incidents, which lasted a few nights in a row, are largely credited with launching the modern-day LGBT civil rights movement.
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“It’s amazing that [the Supreme Court's decision] happened just a few days from the anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and just to think if 44 years how much has changed,” said Glenn Griffin, operations director at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte. “Police were raiding gay bars and beating people up and now, in certain states, people can marry. We’ve come a far way and we still have a long way to go, but it’s definitely a reason to celebrate.”
The center will host their annual Stonewall Celebration on Saturday, Noon-8 p.m., 2508 N. Davidson St. Griffin said the event will feature catered BBQ and a cash bar, as well as several speakers, a beat poet originally from New York City and vendors. The group will also screen last year’s PBS documentary, “Stonewall Uprising.”
Across town, Charlotte Pride will host a Stonewall celebration on Saturday night, 9 p.m., at The Bar at 316, 316 Rensselaer Ave. Their event, A Night in the Village, will serve as a Stonewall commemoration and a kick-off to this year’s 2013 Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade, slated for August. [Ed. Note — This writer is on the board of Charlotte Pride.]
Charlotte Pride Co-Director Richard Grimstad also thinks people will be in the mood to celebrate after this week’s court happenings. He also said it was important for his group, in particular, to take a pause and remember Stonewall.
“If it weren’t for the activities at Stonewall and the riots that took place that night, we wouldn’t be where we are,” he said. “It’s the foundation of a lot of the Pride organizations and festivities that we continue to celebrate 44 years later.”
The group will have a Stonewall birthday cake, DJ, raffle prizes and will display historical photos and documents from the Stonewall-era.