In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in the West Village in Manhattan, we are giving the spotlight this Sunday to the many artworks that have been created by dozens of artists from all over the world in the city over the past weeks. Some of them are commissioned works and others are illegally placed on the streets, regardless of who made them or under whose sponsorship they were created or if they were placed illegally the important thing is to realize that the struggle for recognition, acceptance, and justice didn’t just happen because somebody was willing to give that to us.
It happened because a lot of people before us dared to challenged the establishment and fought to change the cultural norms, the laws in the books and ultimately the perception from the society at large. People suffered unspeakable evil and pain at the hands of unmoved gatekeepers and power brokers. People died rather than living a lie. People took to the streets to point fingers at those who stood silent when many others were dying and were deemed untouchable.
People marched to vociferate and yelled the truth and were arrested and marked undesirable. Many brothers and sisters who were much more courageous than we’ll ever be, defied a system that was designed to fail them and condemn them. Restless souls confronted our political, business, media and religious leaders right in their front yards with the truth and never backed down.
So we must pay homage to them. We have what we have because of them. We owe it to them and we need to understand that it was because of their vision, intelligence and fearless actions that the majority began to understand that without them and their help we would never get equal treatment. Equal rights. Equal opportunities.
So yes let’s celebrate, dance and sing together but let’s feel the pain of those who can’t join in on the celebrations because today still they are on the margins, hiding in the shadows, being cast out from their families and communities and even killed and tortured. Let’s remember that the job isn’t done, indeed far from it. Many countries still have in their laws harsh punishment for those that don’t conform to their established norms. Let’s keep the fight on, the light on, the courage on, the voices loud and the minds open. Happy Pride.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Aloha, Buff Monster, David Puck, Divine, Fox Fisher, Homo Riot, IronClad, Jason Naylor, Joe Caslin, JPO, Meres One, Nomad Clan, Ori Carino, Royce Bannon, Sam Kirk, SAMO, SeeTf, and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
From Tatyana about this piece: “Some of Us Did Not Die. We’re Still Here. – June Jordan, Black, bi-sexual, activist, poet and writer. .
Last fall I met with members of @griotcircle, a community of LGBTQ+ Black and brown elders for my residency with @nycchr. I got to speak with them about their lives and some things that came up were the challenges of being Black and gay in New York years ago, like having to travel in groups because queer folks would be attacked for walking alone. Or not being served at restaurants because they were also black. “