1st LGBTQ National Park Service center to open at Stonewall Inn
The groundbreaking service will be held on Friday.
The new Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will be the first LGBTQ+ visitor center within the National Park Service, and organizers are set to break ground on the new endeavor.
The center is set to open in the summer of 2024 and will take over the half of the Stonewall Inn that is no longer occupied by the bar on Christopher Street in New York City's West Village.
The center will be led by Pride Live, a social advocacy and community engagement organization for the LGBTQ+ community.
"Our goal from the beginning has been to look at what can we do and how can we preserve, advance and celebrate the legacy of the Stonewall Rebellion," said Ann Marie Gothard, president of the Pride Live Board of Directors, in an interview with ABC News.
The Stonewall Uprising of June 1969, which began as a police raid of a gay bar and turned into a dayslong protest, was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and is what Pride celebrations nationwide commemorate each year.
The Stonewall National Monument was designated as the first U.S. national monument dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights and history by President Barack Obama in 2016.
Gothard hopes the visitor center can be a gathering point, a "welcoming location for all people to really explore and experience LGBTQ history and culture."
Gothard said it "could help to really bring people of differing minds together to learn about the LGBTQ history, as well as culture," in a time when LGBTQ rights are under legislative attacks.
The site is expected to feature historical and art exhibits, as well as events and lecture series, hosted by LGBTQ creators and figures. They plan on hosting in-person and virtual tours of the spaces, as well.
The center will serve as the home base for a dedicated group of National Park Service Rangers, who will be focused on preserving the Stonewall National Monument, but it will mainly be managed by Pride Live.
"The designation of Stonewall as a National Monument is an important step in memorializing an invaluable historical landmark that represents courage, hope and triumph for the LGBTQ community," Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be livestreamed on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET on June 24.
The Stonewall National Monument Visitor Center will be funded by donations.