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"MAKE HISTORY" Fundraiser at The LGBT Center in NYC

  • THE LGBT CENTER 208 W 13TH STREET NEW YORK, NY 10011 (map)
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HONORING Corey Johnson and other LGBTQ leaders who MAKE HISTORY for our LGBTQ communities!    Photo credit by Emil Cohen.

HONORING Corey Johnson and other LGBTQ leaders who MAKE HISTORY for our LGBTQ communities!

Photo credit by Emil Cohen.

FEATURING a loving performance by Glee & Once On This Island actor, Alex Newell!   Photo credit by Ricky Middlesworth Photography

FEATURING a loving performance by Glee & Once On This Island actor, Alex Newell!

Photo credit by Ricky Middlesworth Photography

We need your support, your donations, and your stories to MAKE HISTORY!  Please join us at our fundraiser or DONATE NOW to help us PRESERVE LGBTQ HISTORY!


MAKE HISTORY FUNDRAISER Write up by Eric Ulloa

To “Make History” feels like something one has no power over. An almost monumental task left for fate to decide who will be the history makers among us. We think of the Larry Kramers, the Harvey Milks, the Edie Windsors, the Silvia Rivera, the Marsha P. Johnsons and so many others who have had a major hand in shaping the LGBTQ experience. 

But what if I was to tell you that everyday, you make and become a part of our collective queer history? That by waking up each morning and living your life, you are showing a form of resistance and survival. You are a brick in the structure of our history. 

On November 15th, 2018 at the LGBT Center of NYC, The Generations Project set out to do just this at their annual fundraiser, “Make History.”

Founder Wes Enos welcomed a packed audience to celebrate what TGP has done (15 storytelling shows and 100 stories collected from the LGBTQ community) and to show us all what the future has in store. He reminded us why he was so passionate to start TGP in the first place, because “History has a history of being forgotten,” and with these storytelling shows, we preserve the words and experiences from within our community for future generations. 

Wes Enos also presented the main focus of the evening, which is the creation of the Stonewall 50 Time Capsule. The time capsule, celebrating 50 years since the Stonewall riots, will be a physical manifestation of the LGBTQ movement created by metal designer Carlos Lopez and made of 14 gauge steel. The capsule will be filled with transcribed stories captured from TGP’s storytelling shows. TGP will also have photo printers at each upcoming event, so that participants can print photos straight from their phones, attach a short story to them and include them in the time capsule. Community members are encouraged to handwrite letters to the future, that will also reside within the capsule, alongside one from New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio to the mayor of the New York City in 2069, the time in which the time capsule will be opened, celebrating Stonewall’s 100th Anniversary. 

Stories and photos for the time capsule will be collected until June 2020, when the capsule will be sealed and stored in the LGBT center. 100 keys to the capsule will be given out to the people who are involved in the creation of it over the next 18 months. 

TGP host Kyle Post took to the stage to begin what these evenings are all about…storytelling. 

Alex Newell (star of “Glee” and “Once on this Island”) grew up in Massachusetts, as the only black kid in every school he attended. Raised by a single mother, he found community and people his own skin color within the church. 

In tenth grade, finally ready, he came out to his mother and (according to his own words) it went something like this:

Alex: “Mom! I’m Gay!”

Alex’s Mom: “I just took a Xanax and am headed to bed, we’ll talk about it in the morning.”

She awoke the next morning and reminded Alex that a mother’s love is unconditional, and that as her only son, she loved him no matter what. She never wanted him to feel the pain of not belonging. 

Lacking in role models on stage and screen, he sought to find people who represented him in the entertainment community. With the rise of stars like Titus Burgess and Billy Porter, Alex began to see the stars he not only wanted to emulate, but would one day work alongside of as his star began to rise on stage and screen. Alex believes that what we do now, is of dire importance to future generations within our community. That “We create the moments now that build the future. We are planting the seeds.”

Michael Adams, Operations Director at SAGE, spoke to us about this organization that is a very near and dear partner to TGP. Founded in 1978, SAGE was created to ensure that LGBTQ elders could age with respect and dignity. It became a place that ensured we were taking care of those who built the very foundations of our movement and community. TGP became (and continues to be) involved with SAGE, in having storytelling shows at their center and allowing a community of elders to share their voice and stories, as they often feel invisible and forgotten in the LGBTQ community of today. 

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson moved to the city at 19, like so many before him, with two bags and a mind and heart full of ambition. Corey was born and raised outside of Boston in public housing. During puberty, he realized he was gay, which didn’t pair too well with his public persona as captain of his school football team. Between the feelings of loneliness in his sexuality and the murder of Matthew Shepard, Corey was led down a dark, suicidal place. Knowing he needed to break free of that place, he decided to first come out to his teacher and then to his mother. He was met with parents that were okay with it all and loved him unconditionally. Now, in a place of somewhat security in his sexuality, his teacher got him involved in his school’s gay-straight alliance. The alliance gave him newfound courage and like minded people, culminating in a regional event where he met 1300 young, openly gay people from all over New England. It was time to come out at school. 

Corey Johnson came out to his football team first, where his nerves were calmed when a teammate simply said, “You’re a great football player. I just want to play football.” Corey began speaking and telling his story at around 30 other high schools. This caught the attention of the NY Times, who wrote a story on his coming out as a high school athlete. Soon after, other affiliates followed, including 20/20 and Anderson Cooper. Corey discovered he was HIV Positive when he was 25, and became open about his status in hopes of shattering the stigma. 

He was then elected to the NY City Council at the age of 31. He marvels at representing a district where no one bats an eye at him being openly gay or openly positive, and he knows why that is…because of the activists that came before him and set up this moment. 

And to those who paved the path for him, he says, “Thank you for my life.”

Council Speaker Corey Johnson was given the first key to the Stonewall Time Capsule. 

Making History is as simple as coming out to your family. As simple as writing that letter to your representative to protect Trans Rights. As simple as getting up and telling a room full of strangers within your LGBTQ community, your story. 

These moments inspire and create little waves that continue to amass unbeknownst to us. They spread and remind us of the challenges ahead, but that we are stronger when we are together. And they allow us to look back at chapters we will not revisit, because as Alex Newell powerfully sang to conclude the evening, “I Know Where I’ve Been.”


With the 50th Anniversaries of Stonewall and Pride on the horizon, The Generations Project invites you to MAKE HISTORY with us as we build The Stonewall 50 Time Capsule, a physical manifestation of the LGBTQ Movement.  With the help of history-loving volunteers, The Generations Project is partnering with over 50 LGBTQ organizations and history makers to generate photos and other historical content at our live storytelling shows and workshops.

We need your support, your donations, and your stories to MAKE HISTORY!  Please join us at our fundraiser or DONATE NOW to help us PRESERVE LGBTQ HISTORY!

#MAKEHISTORY

#THEGENERATIONSPROJECT

#STONEWALL50TIMECAPSULE



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