June 29, 2020 / 3:13 PM / 10 days ago

New York's Stonewall Inn gets $250,000 lifeline to avoid closure

People wearing protective masks stand outside the closed Stonewall Inn, after the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a watershed victory for LGBT rights, in New York City, U.S. June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC2Z9H9Q19JK

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A $250,000 donation from a charitable foundation has provided a lifeline for New York City’s Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern LGBT+ rights movement, after it warned it may have to close forever due to the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The Gill Foundation, which supports efforts to secure equality for LGBT+ people in the United States, announced the donation on Sunday, the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots that were sparked by a police raid on the world-famous bar.

“Stonewall is a cornerstone of LGBTQ history and it must be protected. LGBTQ history is American history,” said a statement from the foundation.

Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly, co-owners of the Greenwich Village bar, had already raised $30,000 after launching a fundraiser to help them survive after three months of closure due to the city’s coronavirus restrictions.

“As the first and only LGBTQ National Monument, Stonewall is home not only to the history of our community, but also the history of our city and country,” they said in the statement.

“We are beyond grateful for this generous pledge that will help us keep the history alive.”

They have said the bar will be able to reopen on July 6, but only at 50% occupancy.

Reporting by Darnell Christie, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org

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