City Announces 50th Anniversary Celebration of LGBT Civil Rights Movement for July 2015

At a press conference held earlier today, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter along with Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin and other city officials and LGBT advocates announced plans for a 50th Anniversary Celebration of the LGBT civil rights movement at Independence Hall to take place July 4, 2015.

On July 4, 1965, 40 activists protested for equality in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, and continued to do so for five more years. These demonstrations, called “Annual Reminders,” were spearheaded by Washington’s Frank Kameny and Philadelphia’s Barbara Gittings.

The 50th anniversary festivities will begin on Thursday, July 2 and end Sunday, July 5, and include panels, LGBT history exhibits, parties, a festival, and special events, with the highlight the 50th Anniversary Celebration on a large stage in front of Independence Hall on July 4.

According to Equality Forum, the organizing committee of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, a “who’s who” of LGBT icons and allies will gather in front of Independence Hall for that ceremony on July 4, commemorating the Gay Pioneers.

“The 50th Anniversary will commemorate the Gay Pioneers and celebrate 50 years of civil rights progress,” said Malcom Lazin, 50th Anniversary chair.

Scheduled activities include:

Thursday, July 2:

Kick-off events featuring panels of nationally renowned experts. National Legal Panel in collaboration with the Williams Institute at the National Museum of American Jewish History and a National Politics Panel in Congress Hall, where Congress first met with sessions from 1790 to 1800.

A party at the National Museum of American Jewish History follows.

Friday, July 3:

A screening of Gay Pioneers with distinguished panel will be held at WHYY, the Philadelphia NPR and PBS affiliate.  WHYY is located on Independence Mall.  WHYY/PBS and Equality Forum co-produced “Gay Pioneers,” a documentary about the Annual Reminders and how these protests laid the groundwork for Stonewall in 1969.

A party on Independence Mall follows.

Saturday, July 4:

Luncheon at the Independence Visitor Center, wreath laying at the Gay Pioneers historic marker and 50th Anniversary Celebration in front of Independence Hall, plus other special events.

Sunday, July 5:

Festival presented by Philly Pride Presents in Philadelphia’s gayborhood.

Each day features LGBT history exhibits at the National Constitution Center, National Museum of American Jewish History and Independence Visitor Center along with  fireworks on July 3 and 4 and a free Fourth of July concert.

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