NACA BLOG - The Origins of Pride Month - 6/9/2021
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​June 9, 2021
Sarah Keeling, Ph.D.
NACA Director of Education & Research

On a hot night in New York's Greenwich Village, in the early hours of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by the New York City police. "Fed up with constant police harassment and social discrimination, angry patrons and neighborhood residents hung around outside of the bar rather than disperse, becoming increasingly agitated as the events unfolded and people were aggressively manhandled" (https://www.history.com/topics/gay-rights/the-stonewall-riots#section_1). Marsha P. Johnson, a Black transgender woman, is credited with leading the instigation of the riot that occurred that night at the Stonewall. While police raids of gay bars and clubs was not a new phenomenon, the raid on the Stonewall Inn, and the subsequent five-day riot, had an enormous ripple effect.

The first Pride March in New York City was held on June 28, 1970, to commemorate the Stonewall Riot. It was called Christopher Street Liberation Day and the idea originated from a group called the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations (ERCHO). ERCHO had organized demonstrations in Philadelphia since 1965 on July 4th, called "Reminder Day Pickets." The last day of June came to be known as "Gay Pride Day," but events grew and began to spread throughout the month of June.

"Today, celebrations include pride parades, picnics, parties, workshops, symposia and concerts, and LGBTQ Pride Month events attract millions of participants around the world. Memorials are held during this month for those members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally." (https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/)

The Library of Congress has video footage of the first Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade and of one of the Reminder Day Pickets. You can also read more at the links above.

Happy Pride Month!

Sarah Keeling, Ph.D. serves as director of Education & Research for the National Association for Campus Activities and has over 20 years of higher education experience. Her doctorate in higher education administration is from the University of South Carolina. 

Related Professional Competencies: Cultivating a Sense of Belonging


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