NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Hundreds of people gathered at the landmark Stonewall Inn Saturday in New York City for a combined Pride and Black Lives Matter march—51 years after the 1969 uprising and as the legendary bar faces a risk of closing because of the coronavirus lockdown.
The Stonewall—where 51 years ago Sunday morning an uprising against a police raid gave birth to the gay rights movement—is among many small businesses suffering after months of closures and restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Stacy Lentz, a Stonewall co-owner, said the bar is four months behind on its $40,000 a month rent.
“Losing a lot of sleep, trying to figure out how we can save this iconic institution,” Lentz said. “You can do the math, when it’s over $40,000.”
A GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $225,000 by Saturday—above its goal. Lentz said she is grateful, but the future is still uncertain.
“We cannot let this global symbol for LGBTQ rights close and just become an empty storefront with a plaque on the wall,” Lentz said. “We need all these safe spaces. They’re really important to our community.”
In the absence of a formal Pride march this year, hundreds of people still gathered outside the bar Saturday for a combined Pride and Black Lives Matter march.
Lentz said the two movements share common goals.
“We’re not free as a community until everybody in our community is free,” she said.
David from Queens was one of a few hundred people gathered outside the Stonewall Inn on Saturday.
“It’s a great time for Pride and Black Lives Matter to walk hand in hand,” he said.
David said marginalized voices in the LGBTQ movement need to be amplified, particularly trans women of color.
“It’s important that everyone be looped in and protected under this umbrella of unity,” he said.