The iconic Stonewall Inn is one of the many New York businesses that has taken a financial hit after a months-long shutdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now, the establishment — which former President Barack Obama made the country’s first LGBTQ rights monument in 2016 — is asking for help as it struggles to survive.
Organizers launched two crowdfunding campaigns on GoFundMe, one for out-of-work staff and another to pay the rent.
“We are reaching out because like many families and small businesses around the world, The Stonewall Inn is struggling. Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community,” the campaign organizers wrote. “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 Stonewall Inn is where a series of spontaneous and violent demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ community took place against a police raid in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. The riot — considered by many to be the first step in the fight for LGBTQ equality — was led by transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. The uprising was reimagined in director Roland Emmerich’s 2015 film Stonewall.
The Stonewall Inn’s GoFundMe message went on to note the establishment’s cultural significance.
“As you may be aware, The Stonewall Inn is the first national gay historic landmark and the birthplace of the modern-day LGBTQ rights movement,” the message reads. “We celebrate and pay homage to those individuals who first stood up for gay rights and sparked the Stonewall Riots. Those brave souls who first stood up for their rights and the rights of others, triggered a global movement that continues to be celebrated world-wide via gay pride celebrations and parades.”
It continues, “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. It has been a community tavern, but also a vehicle to continue the fight that started there in 1969. Stonewall is the place the community gathers for celebrations, comes to grieve in times of tragedy, and rally to continue the fight for full global equality.”