The iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City is making an appeal for financial support to help pay the historic LGBTQ bar’s rent and financially support its staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
Curtis Kelly, an activist and the Greenwich Village bar’s current owner, helped set up GoFundMe campaigns in a bid to raise money to cover costs.
Kelly’s call for help for Stonewall, which was declared the first LGBTQ monument in the US by President Barack Obamas after a series of pivotal demonstrations followed a police raid of the bar in 1969, comes during Pride month.
The iconic Stonewall Inn in New York City is making an appeal for financial support to help pay the historic LGBTQ bar’s rent and financially support its staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Pride month and Black Lives Matter supporters are pictured outside the bar last week
Demonstrators are pictured outside Stonewall last week showing support for Pride and the Black Lives Matter movement. Curtis Kelly, an activist and the Greenwich Village bar’s current owner, helped set up GoFundMe campaigns in a bid to raise money to cover costs
A man wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt stands with another man outside Stonewall last week
Stonewall was declared the first LGBTQ monument in the US by President Barack Obama after a series of pivotal demonstrations (pictured) followed a police raid of the bar in 1969
‘We are reaching out because like many families and small businesses around the world, The Stonewall Inn is struggling,’ one of the GoFundMe campaign says.
‘Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community,’ the campaign explains.
‘Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future. Even once we reopen, it will likely be under greatly restricted conditions limiting our business activities.’
Both campaigns raised more than $73,000 as of Wednesday evening.
New York City entered its long-anticipated phase 2 reopening on Monday, allowing restaurants to provide outdoor service along with allowing barbershops and hair salons to reopen, but many of the hundreds of thousands of office workers who are also allowed back have stayed home.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the new phase ‘allows’ 300,000 people to head back to work, but it has been unclear if that many have turned up to offices and other businesses since the reopening.
The GoFundMe campaigns for Stonewall point out that the establishment still has an ‘uncertain’ future.’
Stonewall is pictured on Monday as New York enters its Phase two reopening after COVID-19
A Stonewall worker pours a customer’s beer outside the bar during COVID-19 restrictions
Curtis Kelly, an activist and the Greenwich Village bar’s current owner, helped set up GoFundMe campaigns to raise money to pay Stonewall’s rent, as well as its staff. Kelly (center) is pictured during a 2019 event at Stonewall
LGBTQ men and women were subject to discriminatory treatment at the hands of police in the years leading up to what became known as Stonewall Riots. The bar at the time had been a haven for gay and transgender youth.
Kelly took over the bar in 2006 and, with co-owner Stacy Lentz, has since helped it regain its prominence in the LGBTQ community, reports GoMag.
‘We worked diligently to resurrect it as a safe space for the community and to keep the Stonewall Inn at the epicenter of the fight for the LGBTQ+ rights movement,’ a GoFundMe campaign named ‘Support the Stonewall Inn’ says in the fundraising post.
A GoFundMe Page (pictured) is asking for funds to help pay the bar’s rent and other expenses
A second GoFundMe page asks for financial help to support the bar’s staff
‘It has been a community tavern, but also a vehicle to continue the fight that started there in 1969,’ the campaign explains. ‘Stonewall is the place the community gathers for celebrations, comes to grieve in times of tragedy, and rally to continue the fight for full global equality.’
In its campaign to help the staff, Stonewall calls bar managers, bartenders bar backs and porters the ‘backbone of this institution of living history.’
‘So we are turning to you, our loyal friends who continue to support the Stonewall Inn, for anything you can spare to help our family of staff get through this time of uncertainty,’ the campaign says.
‘Any amount, no matter how small would be greatly appreciated and will be shared equally among the staff members and only the staff members.’
New York City’s former police commissioner James O’Neill recognized the historic significance of Stonewall last year when he apologized for the raid on the bar which catalyzed the modern LGBT rights movement.
Former police commissioner James O’Neill recognized the historic significance of Stonewall last year when he apologized for the raid on the bar which catalyzed the modern LGBT rights movement. A crowd is pictured remembering the Stonewall riots during a ceremony in 1971
Speaking at a safety briefing for Pride month last year, O’Neill said that actions taken by the NYPD at Stonewall on June 28 1969 ‘were wrong – plain and simple’.
‘I do know what happened should not have happened,’ he stated.
He further added: ‘The actions and the laws [of the time] were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize’.
The retrospective apology came just weeks before the 50th anniversary of the raid and New York’s largest ever Pride parade.