New York will rename a park in Brooklyn after transgender activist and LGBTQ icon Marsha P. Johnson.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement on Saturday, Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month.
Johnson is widely credited as one of the key figures in the Stonewall Uprising, a landmark LGBTQ protest at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 which kick-started the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
After Stonewall, Johnson helped found advocacy group the Gay Liberation Front, and later co-founded STAR — or Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries — with fellow Stonewall icon and trans activist Sylvia Rivera.
STAR was a groundbreaking collective and support network, providing shelter and community for sex workers and LGBTQ youth.
In a speech at the Human Rights Campaign Greater New York Gala, Cuomo announced that the East River State Park in Brooklyn would be renamed after Johnson, calling her an “icon of the community.”
“New York State is the progressive capital of the nation, and while we are winning the legal battle for justice for the LGBTQ community, in many ways we are losing the broader war for equality,” Cuomo said.
“Even in New York, attacks against African Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans and LGBTQ Americans went up by double digits,” he continued. “These attacks are motivated by fear and intolerance against those who are ‘different,’ and they are blind to the commonality of humanity. We are fighting back, and we will continue achieving progress and showing the rest of the nation the way forward.
“We will do it again this year by passing gestational surrogacy to complete marriage and family equality. And we will name the first State park after an LGBTQ person and we will name it after Marsha P. Johnson – an icon of the community.”
Cuomo said the park would be the first state park to be named after an LGBTQ person.
Last year, it was announced that a monument would be erected in New York City’s Greenwich neighborhood honoring both Johnson and Rivera for their activism and legacies.
It will be installed a block away from the Stonewall Inn, and is part of a push for new and more diverse artworks in the city.
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