Marsha P. Johnson by Kelly Latimore
Kindred in Christ,
Happy Pride! This week we celebrate Pride Sunday as part of our God is Proud of You worship series! Pride Sunday is the Sunday nearest the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. This is the historic event that gave birth to various gay rights organizations, Pride marches, and ignited the queer liberation movement in our country.
On June 28, 1969 the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in NYC. It was common for police to raid and arrest queer people at that time, as homosexuality and cross-dressing were considered illegal. Yet, this time the queer community had had enough. They did not submissively bow their heads and quietly go into the police wagons. But nor did they run away either. They fought back and stood their ground. That night and the nights to follow the people pushed the police out in what historians refer to as the Stonewall Uprising or the Stonewall Riots. One of the central figures in this uprising was a Black trans woman named Marsha P. Johnson (see icon above).
Marsha was nicked named the “Saint of Christopher Street” because of her compassionate presence in the streets of Greenwich Village over the many rejected and often-homeless members of the LGBTQIA+ community at that time. Marsha is quoted saying, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us!”
On the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, thousands of people participated in the first Gay Pride march in NYC. Historians say that the participants were so nervous that they practically ran the route. They were justifiably afraid of being attacked. Yet mostly smiles and cheers from the crowds met them instead.
Join us this Sunday as we explore what it means to stand in holy Pride and the movement toward greater liberation. I hope to see you on Facebook Live!
Rev. Paul Ortiz