Stonewall Museum Recreates Riot on 55th Anniversary | WATCH

A dimly lit bar with people sipping drinks and dancing to Where the Boys Are by Connie Francis. 1969 or 2024? The correct answer is: both.

On Saturday, June 29, the Stonewall National Museum and Archives hosted the first known recreation of the Stonewall Riots of June 29, 1969. The riots were the start of the modern LGBTQ rights movement.

“I hope people take, from this labor of love, the clear message that we can never be complacent,” Stonewall Museum Executive Director Robert Kesten said. “What has gone on in Florida and across the nation is a reminder of just how active we must be if we are to preserve and increase our hard-earned strides towards equality.”

Reenactors were assigned roles of bar patrons, vice squad, and angry villagers. Even though everyone knew it was symbolic, you could still feel a tension in the air. Invoking Stonewall reminded people of the oppressive political atmosphere in the United States, with Florida at the epicenter.

“My favorite part was seeing and feeling the enthusiasm of the crowd and their appreciation for our community work,” Kesten said.

Just like in 1969, officers leaving the bar were met by an angry mob that forced them back inside. The crowd chanted slogans of the era, including “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!”

Actual officers from as far away as Homestead and NYC participated, with squad cars proudly lined up outside the museum. The event ended with officers emerging with a giant rainbow flag, which was then signed by participants.

What a difference 55 years makes.

“As the Constitution reminds us, it is up to ‘We The People’ and I believe, based on actions like yesterday’s, our community is ready to accept that responsibility,” Kesten said.

The Stonewall Inn Stonewall exhibit is at the museum through September.



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