And it’s hard to reach the community without visibility, says José Gutierrez, who worked at LLEGÓ and founded the Latino GLBT History Project, which collects and preserves the history of the GLBT community in Washington, D.C., with plans to expand nationally. “Stonewall helped create more visibility for Hispanic LGBT people.” LGBT Hispanics need to remember the role they played in the movement, he says, to both remember the past and build momentum for the future: “It’s important to preserve our history so that new generations empower themselves to make greater positive changes within the community.”
Stonewall’s milestone anniversary serves as a reminder that equality for all is not a given. As Puerto Rican author and activist Carlos Mock wrote after President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office: “We must all fight our fights. These next four years need to be when the rights of LGBTs become as inalienable as anyone else’s—when our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are as indisputable as anyone else’s.”
Acosta, Cruz, and Gutierrez believe the spirit of Stonewall—and its impact—lives on every time someone takes a stand for equality.
“Sometimes it takes a riot for issues to emerge in the public and be taken seriously by society,” Cruz says.
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