The Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall
rebellion) were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the
gay (LGBT) community against a police raid that took place in the early morning
hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village
neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.
They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the
gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.
Gay Americans in the 1950s and 1960s faced an anti-gay legal system. Early homophile groups
in the U.S. sought to prove that gay people could be assimilated into society, and they favored
non-confrontational education for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. The last years of the
1960s, however, were very contentious, as many social/political movements were active,
including the Civil Rights Movement, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the anti-Vietnam War
movement. These influences, along with the liberal environment of Greenwich Village, served
as catalysts for the Stonewall riots.
Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did
were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall
Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be
popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens,
transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless
youth. Police raids
on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the
Stonewall Inn. They attracted a crowd that was incited to riot. Tensions between New York City
police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and
again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups
to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their
sexual orientation without fear of being arrested.
After the Stonewall riots, gays and lesbians in New York City faced gender, race, class, and
generational obstacles to becoming a cohesive community. Within six months, two gay activist
organizations were formed in New York, concentrating on confrontational tactics, and three
newspapers were established to promote rights for gays and lesbians. Within a few years, gay
rights organizations were founded across the U.S. and the world. On June 28, 1970, the first gay
pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago
commemorating the anniversary of the riots. Similar marches were organized in other cities.
Today, Gay Pride events are held annually throughout the world toward the end of June to mark
the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall National Monument was established at the site in 2016.
Born October 11, 1954, Jones is an American AIDS and LGBT rights activist. He conceived the NAMES
Project AIDS Memorial Quilt which has become, at 54 tons, the world's largest piece of community folk
art as of 2016. In 1983, at the onset of the AIDS pandemic Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS
Foundation which has grown into one of the largest and most influential People with AIDS advocacy
organizations in the United States.
Jones was born in West Lafayette, Indiana. He moved with his family to Scottsdale, Arizona, when he
was 14, and was a student at Arizona State University for a time. Jones claimed, however, he never
really accepted the Phoenix area as his home. His father was a psychologist. His mother was a
Quaker, a faith she held at least in part to benefit her son in the era of the draft for the Vietnam war.
He did not reveal his sexual orientation to his parents until he was 18.
His career as an activist began in San Francisco during the turbulent 1970s when, as a newcomer to
the city, he was befriended by pioneer gay-rights leader Harvey Milk. Jones worked as a student intern
in Milk’s office while studying political science at San Francisco State University.
In 1978, Dan White assassinated Harvey Milk, recently elected to the San Francisco Board of
Supervisors, along with San Francisco’s Mayor George Moscone, and Jones was one of the first
people to see Milk's body after the assassination. Jones went to work in the district office of State
Assemblyman Art Agnos.
In 1983, when AIDS was still a new and largely underestimated threat, Jones co-founded the San
Francisco AIDS Foundation. Jones conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at a candlelight
memorial for Harvey Milk in 1985 and in 1987 created the first quilt panel in honor of his friend Marvin
Feldman. The AIDS Memorial Quilt has grown to become the world’s largest community arts project,
memorializing the lives of over 85,000 Americans killed by AIDS.
Jones ran for a position on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the November 3, 1992 election.
While in San Francisco, Jones took part in a documentary, Echoes of Yourself in the Mirror, about the
HIV/AIDS epidemic, speaking during World AIDS Day in 2005. In the documentary he talks about the
idea behind the AIDS Memorial Quilt, as well as the activism of San Francisco citizens in the 1970s
and '80s to help people affected by AIDS and to figure out what the disease was. The film also looks
at the impact HIV/AIDS is having in communities of color, and the young.
Jones has been working with UNITE HERE, the hotel, restaurant, and garment workers' labor union
on homophobia issues. He is a driving force behind the Sleep With The Right People campaign,
which aims to convince LGBT tourists to stay only in hotels that respect the rights of their workers.
Another part of Jones's work with UNITE HERE is making the labor movement more open to LGBT
In an interview in November 2016 with Terry Gross on NPR radio talk show Fresh Air, Jones
described his status as HIV+, and said while he first learned of his status when tests for infection
came out the 1980s, he was likely infected with the virus around the winter of 1978 or 1979, based on
blood samples collected from him as part of a study he volunteered for.
In the same interview, Jones also talked about the time when he became seriously ill, and how he
responded rapidly to the "cocktail" of drugs that fought the virus, in the earliest trials of it. He
described his present health as good. The interview was based on Jones's book, When We Rise:
My Life in the Movement, and the television program When We Rise, broadcast in February and March
2017 on ABC in the USA. A theme of the interview was that activism saved his life, as he was in the
early drug trials, part of the group pushing the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to stop doing
double-blind trials as soon as it was clear that the cocktail of drugs saved lives.
Film, theatre and major parades
Jones is portrayed by actor Emile Hirsch in Milk, director Gus Van Sant's 2008 biopic of Harvey Milk.
Jones is prominently featured in And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts's best-selling 1987 work of
non-fiction about the AIDS epidemic in the United States. Jones was also featured in the 1995
documentary film The Castro.
Jones was one of the Official Grand Marshals of the 2009 NYC LGBT Pride March, produced by
Heritage of Pride joining Dustin Lance Black and Anne Kronenberg on June 28, 2009. In August 2009,
Jones was an official Grand Marshal of the Vancouver Pride Parade.
Jones participated as an actor in the Los Angeles premiere of 8, a condensed theatrical re-enactment
of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial's closure, on March 3, 2012.
Jones is portrayed by actors Austin P. McKenzie and Guy Pearce in the 2017 ABC television
miniseries When We Rise, directed by Gus Van Sant.
Jones had a cameo appearance playing himself in Looking: The Movie in 2016.
UNITY COALITION|COALICION UNIDA is the First & Only organization for the So. Fla. Latinx|Hispanic|LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Community - advancing
Equality and Fairness through Education, Leadership & Awareness since 2002.
UNITY COALITION|COALICION UNIDA es la Primera y Unica organización en el sur de la Florida para la comunidad latinx|hispanx LGBT (lesbianas, gay,bisexual, transgénero)-
avanzando Igualdad, Liderazgo y Conciencia desde el 2002.
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