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Organizations throughout the Fargo-Moorhead community are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Festivities include a film screening, panel discussion, community dance, and art festival and artists reception.
The F-M LGBT Film Festival and The Fargo Theatre kick off the activities on Wednesday, June 26, with the free community screening of “GAY USA.”Containing footage of the first post-Stonewall Gay Pride march in NYC in 1970, the film was mostly shot at Gay Pride parades in California, Chicago, and NYC in 1977. In man-on-the-street interviews with parade participants and observers, a different era reveals itself, one in which many people can agree that civil rights are vital and in which Gay rights were politicized. The film offers an insightful and rare glimpse at LGBTQ history, no matter how individuals identify. The film screens at 7 p.m. at the Fargo Theatre. The event is supported by the MSUM School of Media Arts and Design and the MSUM Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
On Friday, June 28, the Red River Seniors will hold the free panel discussion, “Stonewall: Then & Now.” Participants will reflect on the impact of the riots and how they shaped the LGBTQ experience for the generations after. The discussion will take place from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Walsh Theatre in Askanase Hall on the NDSU Campus. The discussion is supported by the NDSU Department of History and the Women and Gender Studies Program.
The celebration continues on Saturday, June 29, with “Dancing with the Oldies: Summer of ’69 Stonewall Edition” presented by the Red River Seniors. Attendees are encouraged to dress like it’s 1969. The event is open to individuals 21 and older, and there is a $15 cover charge at the door. The dance will take place at the Sidestreet Grill and Pub.
The week concludes on Sunday, June 30, with the “Honoring Stonewall Art Festival Artists Reception and Talk” hosted by St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and the North Dakota Human Rights Art Festival. Artists from North Dakota and Minnesota have work on display that both commemorates the Stonewall Riots and provide personal reflections on the LGBTQ experience. The reception will take place at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Chapel from 1 – 3 p.m. Live performances of written works will take place, and artists will be on hand to share the inspirations and motivations of their work. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote to select a “People’s Choice” award, awarding a talented artist a $100 cash prize. The art festival will be on display at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church Chapel Sunday, June 23 through Sunday, July 28. Both the exhibition and the artists’ reception are free and open to the public.
The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition is supporting the week-long reflection on human rights and social justice.
The Stonewall Riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.