President Obama uttered these words during his inauguration speech on January 21st, 2013, in front of over twenty million Americans. Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall. These three places mark the front lines of three distinct social movements that altered United States’ history – three places where activists fought relentlessly in order to bring about change and righteousness.
Seneca Falls was the site of a convention held on behalf of women’s rights in 1848 that kick-started the push for female social and economic equality under the law. Selma is an Alabaman city where protesters to black oppression marched in the name of justice, protesters who, as a result of police attacks, shed blood for their cause. The Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Rights Movement have made their foundation a prominent part of our nation’s philosophy for years: the idea that all people are equal, regardless of race or sex. America’s present would appear unrecognizable were it not for these shifts in our culture.
The outlier and unexpected addition to this trio, however, is Stonewall. On June 28th, 1969, the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City. The abuse that customers underwent from police led to widespread riots, and gave birth to what is now commonly considered the gateway event that led to the modern LGBT Movement. Obama’s inclusion of Stonewall in his speech about equality opened the political theater to a subject never before heard in a Presidential address: the push to provide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgend...
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... by no means signifies the last front on our journey to equality. As citizens of the United States, each and every one of us has an obligation to contribute to the fight for the rights allotted to us in the founding documents that built our country – regardless of race, sex, OR sexual orientation. I’m confident that someday, fifty years from now, students will see gay rights as just another unit in the history books. The LGBT Movement will be a relic from the past where children exclaim, “Two men didn’t used be to allowed to get married?” in the same way that racial segregation puzzles the youth of today. A long road stretches before us on our trek towards tolerance.
Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall: the fight for justice began here. However, until the equality promised to us by our great nation touches every single one of its citizens, the battle is not over.
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