New York City will honor one of its most famous LGBTQ+ activists, Marsha P. Johnson, by naming its first state park after her, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced at the Human Rights Campaign Greater New York Gala. The East River State Park, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will soon bear Johnson’s name as a reminder of her pioneering civil rights work and a rebuke against the rise in hate crimes in the city.
Said Cuomo in his announcement:
New York State is the progressive capital of the nation, and while we are winning the legal battle for justice for the LGBTQ community, in many ways we are losing the broader war for equality. Even in New York, attacks against African Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans and LGBTQ Americans went up by double digits. These attacks are motivated by fear and intolerance against those who are “different,” and they are blind to the commonality of humanity. We are fighting back, and we will continue achieving progress and showing the rest of the nation the way forward. We will do it again this year by passing gestational surrogacy to complete marriage and family equality. And we will name the first state park after an LGBTQ person and we will name it after Marsha P. Johnson—an icon of the community.
Johnson, a Black trans woman who died in 1992, became known for her activism following the Stonewall Uprising and her role in the Gay Liberation Front and Act Up. With transgender rights advocate Sylvia Rivera, she cofounded STAR, an organization that assisted and advocated for homeless LGBTQ+ youth. In May 2019, NYC’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Johnson and Rivera would be featured as part of the She Built NYC monument series.
Watch Cuomo’s video announcement, courtesy of NYGovCuomo: