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Brooklyn Park Renamed In Honor of Trailblazing LGBTQIA+ Activist, Marsha P. Johnson

Brooklyn Park Renamed In Honor of Trailblazing LGBTQIA+ Activist, Marsha P. Johnson

A fitting honor. 

The East River State Park in Brooklyn, NY, was recently renamed in honor of the trailblazing LGBTQIA+ activist Marsha P. Johnson, Dazed reports. 

Johnson was an iconic trans activist who fought for equality and is known primarily for her role in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. As one of the revolt leaders, she joined her LGBTQIA+ community members in protesting discrimination, and hate-based raids on gay and lesbian bars by the police. These acts of resistance eventually spurred the gay rights movement. Although a critical figure in the gay liberation movement, it would be decades before Johnson received her flowers. Her legacy was driven into obscurity in favor of a more whitewashed patriarchal version of the liberation movement. 

In more recent years, renewed interest in Johnson's story sparked a revival of her story, including a Netflix documentary entitled The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. On Aug. 24th, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the city would be renaming the park in Johnson's honor. Brooklyn's East River State Park was dedicated to the famed activist's memory, renamed The Marsha P. Johnson State Park. 

"Too often, the marginalized voices that have pushed progress forward in New York and across the country go unrecognized, making up just a fraction of our public memorials and monuments," Cuomo said in a statement on what would have been Johnson's 75th birthday.  "Marsha P. Johnson was one of the early leaders of the LGBTQ movement and is only now getting the acknowledgment she deserves. Dedicating this state park for her, and installing public art telling her story, will ensure her memory and her work fighting for equality lives on."

The park will include public art reflecting Johnson's life to educate the next generation on the queer and gay rights movement. 

With the park dedication she's made history as the first LGBTQIA+ person and trans woman of color to have a New York State park dedicated after them. There are also plans to include a monument dedicated to Sylvia Rivera, a friend of Johnson's and fellow civil rights activist. Rivera is believed to be the person who threw the first brick during the Stonewall Uprising. Post-Stonewall, Johnson and Rivera co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR). They led the political organization in finding housing and other forms of support to homeless queer youth in Manhattan.

The monument will be placed in Ruth Wittenberg Triangle in Greenwich Village, near the original site.

Photo Courtesy of York State Parks