Stonewall Riots have enduring impacts in Michigan

Michigan

LANSING, Mich (WNLS)– More than 50 years later, the Stonewall riots in New York City are still impacting people across the country.

People gathered at the Salus Center in downtown Lansing to learn and discuss the riots that started on June 28th, 1969. The riots lasted six days and took over the streets of the city.

“You don’t realize everyone hears about Stonewall but they don’t hear about all the things that took place everywhere else in the country especially their own communities,” said Luna Brown.

Michigan State University Assistant Fixed-Term Professor, Tim Retzloff, says the riots were the first true efforts in forming strong organizations, that still meet to this day.

“I think it continues to be a source of inspiration and model for asserting yourself and not kind of cowering and being visible,” said Retzloff.

Some of the organizations include the Gay Liberation Front and other university and college groups.

“It had a galvanizing effect on young activists who kind of did not buy into the idea that should cower and be invisible and hide themselves,” said Retzloff.

After all these years, Brown says they will take what they learned from those riots and keep pushing for change.

“We can learn from them today and learn new strategies, to be able to create change and non-violence resistance,” said Brown.

The Stonewall Inn and surrounding streets were named a national monument by Barack Obama in 2016.

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