UPDATE 4/26: If you missed the documentary on PBS, you can now watch it online for the time being here.
The following post was written by Kevin Harris, Director of Community Relations at The Marin Foundation.
Tonight, April 25th, Stonewall Uprising will be airing on PBS at 9pm (CST). You can check your local listings on pbs.org.
It was not too long ago that simply being gay or lesbian in the United States was illegal and punishable by imprisonment. Given the reality of the government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities in the 1950s and 1960s, it was only a matter of time until individuals stood up and revolted against the oppressive social and political climate that perpetuated such treatment.
So when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City on June 28, 1969, it was understandable that pent up frustrations gave way to violent protests and demonstrations. In that day, it was common for police to regularly raid or go undercover to the Stonewall Inn to arrest individuals and their names would then be printed in local newspapers, incurring social ostracization and often the loss of their jobs. But on that night, some of the patrons finally had enough and their protest helped to awaken and give voice to the collective feelings of frustration and discontent that were lying under the surface. The protest spilled out onto the streets and the ensuing six days of riots are now commonly viewed as the genesis of the gay rights movement in the United States which is now commemorated with the annual Pride Parade in respective cities across the country.
I had the opportunity to see the film with others that regularly attend our Living in the Tension gatherings in Chicago last year when it was premiering in select theaters around the country, and I would definitely recommend the film as it illuminates an important event in US history that played a significant role in setting the stage for where the LGBT community finds itself today.
You can click on the picture below to watch the film and it can be bought on Amazon.com.