A week ahead of the Stonewall Riots’ 48th. anniversary, Google has announced a $1 million donation to the LGBT Community Center of New York to digitize the story of the Stonewall Riots.
Google made the announcement over the weekend, noting that Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, is widely recognized as the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement. In 1969, the bar was at the center of riots between bar-goers and police who tried to take them to jail. The riots lasted several days.
“The Stonewall Riots were important to the ongoing road to civil rights for LGBT communities around the world — and their message is as resonant and necessary today as it was back then,” wrote William Floyd, Google’s head of external affairs for New York and California, in a blog post Sunday.
The grant will help fund the Center’s project to record stories from the riots, which will be available in a park across the street from Stonewall as well as online.
“These are the stories of transgender women of color who fought back; of queer youth, many of whom were homeless, who bravely refused to be silenced; of the poorest of the LGBTQ community,” Floyd wrote.
The only problem is that much of the history has been forgotten and distorted over the almost 50 years since the riots began.
Hundreds of people took part in the three nights of the Stonewall riots. Black, White, Latino, Youth, Adults, Gay, Lesbian Bi, and even Straight people. Drag Queens. and cross-dressers also took part. (There were very few transgender individuals in 1969 even in such liberal bastions as Greenwich Village) Also its has always been a point of contention that Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Johnson was there that night at the beginning of the riot. Many Stonewall veterans say no. Marsha Johnson herself is quoted as saying that they were not there at the beginning and that she was uptown getting Rivera who was sleeping on a park bench and that they later joined the melee. Many verified Stonewall veterans have stated that Rivera and Johnson were not there from the beginning. The only person who ever said they were there was Rivera herself. And many trans activists who believe and repeat the story not because its the truth but to further their cause. (To be honest many believe it to be the truth because it has been repeated so much) But with that being said we cannot discount Rivera and Johnson who are two very important people in LGBT history and their real contributions. Their participation in the three nights of rioting should not be overlooked. But it shouldn’t be embellished either.