SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Pride Week has officially begun in Salt Lake City. The theme this year honors the Stonewall riots of 1969.

The Stonewall riots were a series of violent riots from members of the gay community in Manhattan, New York.

In 1969 homosexual acts were illegal in every state except Illinois. In the early hours of June 28, 1969 New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village.

Greenwich was seen as a refuge for many LGBTQ+ Americans living in New York during the 1960’s. Stonewall was originally purchased as a “straight” bar and restaurant but was renovated and reopened as a gay bar.

Almost immediately after the invasion, a riot broke out among bar patrons and neighborhood members. The riots turned into a six-day violet protest against law enforcement outside the bar located on Christopher Street. 

The riots were monumental in the gay rights movement and influenced people throughout the United States and all around the world.

This year’s Utah Pride Festival and Parade’s theme is “Exist. Resist. Persist.” and is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising is referred to by many as the birth of the modern LGBTQ+ movement.

Activists fought for acceptance and pushed for a cultural shift. This year’s festival and the parade is honoring the dedication for change by those who fought for fairness. 

“Stonewall represents the beginning of the LGBTQ+ community pushing back against the brutality of law enforcement as well as the discrimination suffered at the hands of society.  To me, it is important to honor Stonewall and the hard-fought battle of the people who came before us. It is also important for the LGBTQ+ youth of today to know where the rights they have came from and on who’s shoulders they stand.  We still have a long way to go, but Stonewall gave us a beginning.” says Deb Hall, Manager of Senior Programs and Advocacy with the Utah Pride Center.  

Events will be held all around the country commemorating the 50th anniversary on Friday, June 28th.

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