The Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the historic ‘Stonewall uprising’ in 1969, could become another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
After being shuttered for months due to the COVID-19 health threat, the owners of the venue launched a GoFundMe campaign writing, “The Stonewall Inn faces an uncertain future and we are in need of community support!”
The Stonewall riots – which stretched over three nights beginning on June 28, 1969 – became a defining moment in LGBTQ history when patrons became tired of police raids and stood up to the police brutality.
The site has become so ingrained in the DNA of the fight for LGBTQ rights, the Stonewall Inn became the first LGBTQ historic site to be designated a national monument in 2016.
“Stonewall will be our first national monument to tell the story of the struggle for LGBT rights,” said President Obama at the induction of the Stonewall Inn as a national monument. “I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country, the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us.”
Intoning the “brave souls who first stood up for their rights and the rights of others,” the owners candidly ask for help in saving “one of the LGBTQ+ communities most iconic institutions.”
“Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community,” reads the appeal from the owners on their GoFundMe page. “Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future.”
“We resurrected the Stonewall Inn once after it had been shuttered – and we stand ready to do it again – with your help,” the owners continue. “We worked diligently to resurrect it as a safe space for the community and to keep the Stonewall Inn at the epicenter of the fight for the LGBTQ+ rights movement.”
Launched on June 13, the campaign has raised just over $19,000 at this writing, with a goal of $50,000.
A separate crowdfunding campaign was launched in early April to help support the staff and employees of the Stonewall Inn. That effort has garnered over $22,000 in donations to date.
In addition to running the tavern, the owners also operate the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative, an approved IRC 501(c)(3).
The non-profit charitable organization is committed to eliminating the social intolerance that is profoundly impacting the lives of LGBTQ citizens throughout America and abroad through awareness campaigns, educational programming, fundraising and candid public dialogue.
The Stonewall Gives Back Initiative supports grassroots organizations scattered across the country and especially those in communities where progress toward equality has been slow and the negative impact of ongoing acts of discrimination and harassment can no longer be tolerated.