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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Stonewall Uprising Response

        What most interested me in Stonewall Uprising were the creation of events that were able to bring people together, and to give them a space in which they not longer felt as alone. Multiple times throughout the film, people recounted that at this moment, they finally realized that they were not alone, that there were others like them, and that they were all coming out in the open. Together, at a breaking point, they were able to see that there were more people than they expected that were either like them, or that supported them, and were willing to risk everything to break down these absurd and hellish social constructions. The most meaningful part of the documentary for me was when they recounted that directly after the first night of protest, they refused to let it end the following day. They kept the protests going and going, and weren't going to let it fizzle out. There was an energy present that needed to be acted upon, and that was exactly what they did.
        Growing up, I've participated in a few demonstrations, but have also sometimes questioned how helpful they can be. I absolutely believe in protests and demonstrations, and hearing about the non-ending nature of the Stonewall protest made me feel hopeful (and regretful of my questioning of protests in the first place). In the film, they did admit to the use of violence, and that that was something that actually really aided in the protest, and of creating a sense of fear for the police. I have volunteered at Gay Pride parades and have experienced the power of people gathering together in peaceful protests, but never have in a way that exherted violence. It made me wonder what it would be like to be involved in a protest with the use of violence, where your liberty or safety is at stake - what does that feel like?
        There are many things that I believe should be protested against today, and a movement that is getting a lot of recognition in terms of protesting is the Black Lives Matter movement. Just the other day, protesters barricaded themselves and blocked traffic on the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco and Oakland. These protests have been on my mind a lot within the past year, and watching this film reminded me that there is a lot of power in protests, and most importantly, that they must keep on going until something is changed. During certain moments when I was watching Stonewall Uprising, it was hard for me to imagine a time like this, but then I remembered that only recently gay marriage has been legal in the United States, and in many parts of the world it is still a crime to be homosexual. I feel proud to live within a society which now openly accepts gay and lesbian citizens, but there are still many problems to overcome, and many outcasted groups of people (whether it is due to sexual identity, race, economic groups, gender, or more) that are absurdly overlooked and not treated equally. There is still a lot of work to do, but I believe that we can get there.

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