LOWER MANHATTAN, New York City (WABC) -- It has been 50 years since the Stonewall riots for LGBT rights, and as Pride Month gets underway, the city is commemorating the anniversary with dozens of events and activities.
One such event was the grand opening this weekend of the New York State WorldPride Welcome Center, located at 112 Christopher Street in the West Village, just steps from the Stonewall National Monument.
"Pride is a special month for the LGBTQ community and for all New Yorkers, and with the Empire State hosting WorldPride this year on the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, we have a lot to celebrate and commemorate," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "From the passage of marriage equality and GENDA to our ongoing fight with the Trump administration over critical protections for transgender individuals, New York has been a national leader in the fight for LGBTQ rights and we will always stand alongside this community that we love so much."
Created in partnership with NYC Pride/Heritage of Pride and The LGBT Community Center, the New York State WorldPride Welcome Center is located just blocks away from the site of the original Stonewall Inn and will serve as the home base of sorts for this year's festivities..
"We really wanted to create this space so people can have a full understanding of what world pride is and also look back at our history where we've come from and how much further we have to go as a community," said Christopher Frederick, executive director of NYC Pride.
We invite you to watch our special "ABC 7 Celebrates World Pride NYC" on Saturday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m. hosted by Ken Rosato on Channel 7. Then join our team of Ken, Lauren Glassberg, Sam Champion and Kemberly Richardson for live coverage of WorldPride NYC 2019 on Channel 7 and abc7NY.com beginning Sunday, June 30 beginning at 12:00 p.m.
On June 28, 1969, LGBTQ community members began spontaneous demonstrations at the Stonewall Inn that lasted for six days and are recognized today as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement.
The Welcome Center showcases New York's role in the struggle for equality through a timeline gallery from the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the 1950s, to the Stonewall uprising in the 1960s, to Governor Cuomo signing the state's Marriage Equality Act into law in the 2010s.
"As millions of people visit our state this June, the WorldPride Welcome Center will highlight the roots and accomplishments of the LGBTQ rights movement in New York and promote the state as a safe, welcoming destination with no place for hate," Cuomo said.
The rainbow pride colors are featured prominently throughout the Welcome Center, and visitors can take a picture at the selfie wall featuring the I LOVE NY LGBT logo. Overhead, the center's ceiling showcases a creative deconstructed interpretation of the pride flag, and the rainbow colors are also incorporated into the center's shelves and lighting.
Encouraging travel and tourism is a vital piece of the Welcome Center's mission, and a video wall highlights destinations around the state popular with LGBTQ travelers and promotes special events scheduled to coincide with WorldPride.
Interactive I LOVE NY kiosks allow visitors to test their knowledge of the state or create a travel profile that recommends attractions based on interest.
The 2019 WorldPride commemoration includes marches, performances and festivals that promote the LGBTQ rights movement and will welcome an estimated four million visitors from across the United States and around the world to New York.
Find more Pride stories from this year and year's past at abc7NY.com/pride.
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WorldPride Welcome Center now open in Lower Manhattan, just steps from Stonewall
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