Stonewall National Monument marks Pride month with first permanent rainbow flag on federal land

On Wednesday, June 1st 2022 at 1pm, federal officials and LGBTQ+ activists will hoist the rainbow flag on the first Pride flagpole on federal land, in Christopher Park in the heart of the Stonewall National Monument in New York City’s historic Greenwich village. This will be the first permanent rainbow flag to fly on federal land and Wednesday’s installation ceremony will mark the start to this year’s Pride month.

Simone at the Stonewall National Monument, New York. Photo credit: Steven Love Menendez.

The National Park Service superintendent for all Manhattan sites, Shirley McKinney, who oversees the park and monument, and Steven Love Menendez, photographer, activist, park volunteer and caretaker of the rainbow flags at the park, will unveil the flagpole and run up the Progress Pride Flag, with the park service insignia on it, for the first time.

“Nothing makes me happier than having the flag permanently flying at the Stonewall Monument”, Menendez told The Queer Review. “I see it as a symbol that honors all those that have fought for our rights and one that inspires new generations to carry the torch of hope into the future. Every time I visit the Monument I see the joy in people’s eyes when they see the flag. I feel the flag says to all who enter the park, ‘You are honored, celebrated, and loved’.”

The original request to the Department of the Interior to honor those who took part in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, and those of us who follow in their giant footsteps, was made by longtime gay activist Michael Petrelis in 2017. The ceremony is being organized by a network of grassroots community members and will be hosted by ACT UP veteran and journalist Ann Northrop.

There will be musical entertainment courtesy of Tony-winning actress and singer Lillias White, who will perform an a capella version of Over the Rainbow.

Stonewall National Monument, New York. Photo credit: Steven Love Menendez.

Major underwriting and support has been provided by Tom Viola and his community-based organization Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Organizers say, “rain or shine, all are invited to the Stonewall National Monument Rainbow Flagpole dedication celebration” this Wednesday, June 1st at 1pm.

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