‘Witness: 50 Years of Change for Law Enforcement and the LGBTQ Community’
WASHINGTON, DC — The National Law Enforcement Museum at the Motorola Solutions Foundation Building, hosted an engaging panel discussion marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots on Thursday, June 13, in the Museum’s Verizon Theater.
Panelists representing the LGBTQ community and law enforcement discussed the 1969 raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village and subsequent riots, as well as the impact those events have had on the relationship between law enforcement and the LGBTQ community in the past 50 years.
“We were very proud to be able to bring this panel discussion to the Museum during Pride Month,” said Lori Sharpe Day, Interim National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund CEO. “Our Witness program gives us the opportunity to take an in-depth look at historic events with people who were there to see them happen. It also lets us evaluate their impact and relevance on the relationships law enforcement has with the communities they serve.”
The discussion was the latest in the Museum’s on-going Witness program, generously sponsored by Target, and featuring first-person accounts of historic events by people who were actually on the scene as the events unfolded. Target also provided free admission for the first 50 attendees.
On June 28, 1969, members of New York’s LGBTQ community led a series of street demonstrations in response to a raid on the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village. These riots were a pivotal moment in the gay political movement. One year later, the first Gay Pride marches took place to mark the one-year anniversary of the riots.
“What has changed now is that law enforcement has an understanding of this (LGBTQ) community exists,” said Lt. Brett Parson, of the Metropolitan (DC) Police Department. “Step one was to have our law enforcement leaders acknowledge this community exists. They have rights and they have the right to speak up when not treated properly.”
Moderated by NBC4 news anchor Jim Handly, panelists for the Witness discussion included:
- David Carter, author of Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution,
- Lt. Brett Parson of the Metropolitan (DC) Police Department’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Liaison Unit,
- Lucian Truscott IV, a journalist, novelist and screenwriter who was present for the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn. Mr. Truscott also wrote an article for The Village Voice and became a staff writer there.
- Det. Brian Downey, president of the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) of New York, which addresses the needs, issues, and concerns of LGBTQ law enforcement personnel. He is also a detective in the NYPD and is currently assigned to the Office of the Police Commissioner.
The entire ‘Witness – Stonewall Riots: 50 Years of Change for Law Enforcement and the LGBTQ Community’ panel discussion can be seen on the Museum’s YouTube Channel.
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About the National Law Enforcement Museum
The 57,000-square-foot National Law Enforcement Museum at the Motorola Solutions Foundation Building was authorized by Congress in 2000. Located adjacent to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and just steps from the National Mall and some of our country’s most noted landmarks, the Museum contains more than 20,000 objects and artifacts of which 800 are on display daily. Utilizing its more than 100 interactive elements the Museum gives visitors a “walk in the shoes” experience of all branches of American law enforcement. Educational journeys, immersive exhibitions, and insightful programs strive to strengthen the relationship between American law enforcement agencies and the diverse communities they serve. The Museum is an initiative of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a [501(c)(3)] organization established in 1984. For more information about the National Law Enforcement Museum, visit LawEnforcementMuseum.org.