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=====Stonewall 34=====
STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association

*
 Gay Pride Rally

Manhattan, New York
Saturday, June 22
 2003












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New York Blade News:  Rain (Light Drizzle) doesn't Dampen Gay Pride Rally



New York Blade Newsmentions the S.V.A.'s speakers Electra and Jeremiah but, failed to state that they were representing the S.V.A. and failed to mention the STONEWALL Veterans' Association!


S.V.A. Editor's Observations:  Both Electra O'Mara, S.V.A. Secretary, and Jeremiah Newton, S.V.A. President, are elected officers of the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association ("S.V.A."), both unequivocably representing the S.V.A. -- as arranged through the S.V.A. -- at the Gay Pride Rally.  This reality was printed in the program, announced before they enetered the stage and stated a few times by each:  STONEWALL Veterans' Association!   Somehow, that rudimentary fact was unfortunately overlooked by the unnamed NY Blade author.  Yet, if it was a {paid} speaker from ESPA, e.g., you can be sure that ESPA would have been mentioned -- or else!  Some folks think that the city came with the bridges and tunnels in place.  

Anyway, now that WE, in part, cleared up the annual Gay Pride Rally history basics... at Williamson's urging and coaching, Electra opened the S.V.A. rally segment with the famous crowd-pleasing "S-T-O-N-E-W-A-L-L Cheer".  Electra O'Mara -- as a woman (all the other years, except "SW-25", this was done by a male) -- was a fine surprise treat for the crowd with her version of "Give me an 'S', give me a 'T', give me an 'O', give me an 'N', give me an "E", etc.  Whaddya got?  S-T-O-N-E-W-A-L-L!"  Electra then introduced her fellow S.V.A. officer on stage.  Jeremiah Newton presented the audience with a nutshell of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion for Gay rights and clarified, once again, that the uprising was not a 'riot' and much more akin to the Boston Tea Party!  S.V.A. President Jeremiah also provided an interesting synopsis history of the S.V.A.


 


"Stonewall 34"  

New York City
Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender Pride Parade
--- led by the S.V.A.
STONEWALL
Rebellion Veterans' Association

down Fifth Avenue, across West 8 Street and down Christopher Street in
Manhattan, New York

Sunday, June 29th
=always the last Sunday in June= 
2003




S.V.A. Yankee Fan Dave West's dual colors:  Pinstripes and Rainbows
[Digital Photography by Hal M. Weiner]

Pictured at the N.Y.C. Gay Pride Parade line-up on Fifth Avenue are Stonewall veterans (l-2-r):  Jack Rojas, S.V.A. Executive Committee, holding sign "In Honor of All Gay Activists"; Cristina Hayworth, S.V.A. Ambassadress (partially obscured by an arm), wearing a dark burgundy outfit and sporting a gold brim and the pink S.V.A. button; and Dave West, S.V.A. Public Relationist, wearing his own creative vintage Yankees baseball uniform and proudly holding a big rainbow Gay pride flag.








S.V.A.'s new Banner leading the Gay Pride Parade
[Photo by Williamson Henderson]

Pictured with the S.V.A. banner are (l-2-r):  Gregory Curatolo, Gay Computer Center Manager and Honorary Banner Guard; Aubrey Lees, newly-elected (yesterday) S.V.A. President; Steven Gradman, Vice-President of PRIDE Democrats and Honorary Banner Guard; and Stormé DeLarverie, S.V.A. Ambassador.  Following the banner is, of course, the unmistakable 1969 "Stonewall Car".  Freely standing to the right is Friend-of-SVA (and Security Man for the vehicle) Joe Rose of Spanish Harlem.








S.V.A.'s Ambassadress holds Gay Pride Flag aboard the atrocious "Float"
[Photo by Edwin Marcial]

Standing above -- you needed to climb up a ladder to get on it -- are (l-2-r):  Cristina Hayworth, S.V.A. Ambassadress (up from Puerto Rico) and at the rear of the improperly labelled, unappetizing "float" reluctantly provided by the chintzy Heritage Of Pride ("HOP"), Princess Jenni June Egan, Vice-President of the Imperial QUEENS & Kings of Greater New York and Friend-of-SVA (with big, colorful hat and shades); Dave West, S.V.A. Public Relationist (wearing vintage baseball uniform -- minus the shirt -- and momentarily visiting the few, isolated "float" vetz; and Bert Coffman, S.V.A. Vice-President (wearing shades, partially hidden) and very unhappy to be on this HOP farm truck.  After all, if HOP finally provided (with other people's money) an auxillary vehicle for the first time ever for the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association, then why put their totally inappropriate HOP signs all over it?!  Would anyone looking at the busy "HOP" banners think there are legendary Stonewall veterans up on that mislabeled old farm flatbed?  Of course, not!  Does HOP do that when they provide a float for other groups?  Of course -- not!  Is it because HOP has increasingly become more and more disrespectful, rude and tacky?  Whatever, that's why barely any SW-Vet would even go on "it" -- short of prodding with a hot-burnin' cattle branding iron -- and why so many have stopped participating in the Gay Parade altogehter! 




   



The S.V.A. Flotilla of Cars
[Digital Photography by Hal Weiner]

The STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association's flotilla had three vehicles.  Pictured are the stunning 1969 Cadillac convertible and rare 1959 Edsel sedan.  A 1979 Oldsmobile convertible is obscured from view.  The S.V.A. had the same amount of ships in their flotilla as Columbus did over 400 hundred years ago!  Several veterans of the historic 1969 Stonewall Rebellion are shown:  Ray McCaffrey (w/ white cap) is driving the "Stonewall Car", Amir "The Gorilla" Qaharr is riding shotgun and Dianne Yodice, China Fucita and Rev. Magora Kennedy are atop the back seat.








Proudly We hail with the Empire State Building
[Photo by Electra O'Mara]

Pictured above are (l-2-r):  Tara Ann Rothschild, Friend-of-SVA; Williamson Henderson, S.V.A. Director; Greg Lambert, S.V.A. Community Liaison; and Will Weder (the other half of "Will & Greg").  In the background -- 15 blocks north -- is the now even more symbolic New York Empire State Building.





   


1969 Cadillac "Stonewall Car":   Front & Center
[Photography by Terry Davis for www.nowUK.net]

Pictured above are (l-2-r):  Electra O'Mara (mostly hidden, with back to camera); Mitchell Miller (with green shirt, back to camera); Joe Rose (walking with H2O bottle); Dianne Yodice (sitting atop back seat, left); Amir Qaharr (ridin' shotgun); China Fucito (glowing in orange, back seat center); Ray McCaffrey (driving); Hal Weiner (with white beard and brown hat, sitting atop back seat on the rite); Edwin Marcial (with red cap), Friend-of-SVA and one of many political opponent Council candidates against "Philis Read"; and Rev. Magora Kennedy (talking, walking, waving and wearing red).  In the right rear you can see Tara Ann (with shades and white blouse).

   






"In Honor of (most) All Gay Activists"
[Photo by Mitchell Miller]

Pictured above during a brief parade stop on crowded Christopher Street -- the gayest street in the world -- are "Towering" Jack Rojas with his perennial sign, "In Honor of All Gay Activists", and Williamson Henderson, wearing a purple shirt which reads "9-11-01: America Will Never Forget", showing the likeness of the Twin Towers set against the background of an American flag.   Both relevant messages are eternally entwined in recalling, remembering and reflecting on those who have been lost.




   



1969 Cadillac Convertible & 1959 Edsel Sedan
[Photo by Williamson Henderson]







A Presbyterian Welcome to the Gay Pride Parade
[Digital Photography by Hal Weiner]

The First Presbyterian Church of Greater New York on lower Fifth Avenue in Manhattan provides this annual welcome to all in the Gay Pride Parade.  Pictured above is the light blue with white lettering and double pink triangles banner which reads "Presbyterian Welcome".  Volunteers from the church also thoughtfully hand out paper cups of water to all paraders who want or need H2O.  The group of spectators is most pleasant and diverse including....








The famous "Stonewall Car" sleeks down the Fifth
[Photography by Terry Davis at www.nowUK.net]

Driving the magnificent blue beauty is reliable Ray Jay McCaffrey, STONEWALL Veterans' Association Financial Secretary (who donated the car's new brakes, which were finally needed since the last pair in 1979) and ridin' shotgun is Amir Qaharr, S.V.A. Chief-of-Security (appropriately dressed as "Men in black").  Sitting atop the back seat of the "Stonewall Car" are (l-2-r):  Dianne Yodice, S.V.A. Social Committee (with shades); Chyna Fucito, S.V.A. Executive Committee (in orange outfit and orange hair); and the legendary Hal B. Weiner, Esq., S.V.A. Legal Advisor (with safari hat).  Walking alongside the car (as she refused to ride on that "float") is Rev. Magora Kennedy, S.V.A. Chaplain (in beautiful red African garb).  Standing in rear of photo are (l-2-r):  Mitchell Miller, Friend-of-SVA; Electra O'Mara, S.V.A. Recording Secretery; and Greg Lambert, S.V.A. Liaison (with white cap).  In front of them is D/Q Louisa Vasquez.  The car following the S.V.A. car is Scot Allyn's unique 1959 Edsel.  Ridin' shotgun in the Edsel with Scot is Melanie Gooding (Cuba's cousin).








Present and Former S.V.A. Presidents
[Photo by Dave West]

Camping it up above on Christopher Street are (l-2-r):  Aubrey Lees, current, newly-elected S.V.A. President; Williamson Henderson, the first S.V.A. President; and Rev. Magora Kennedy, the SVA's colorful Chaplain.  In the background is the blue "Stonewall Car" of 1969 Stonewall Rebellion fame.
   


Stonewall Vetz arrive with the "Stonewall Car" at the Stonewall Club on Stonewall Place during the "Stonewall Parade" for the "Stonewall Prayer" and the "Stonewall Portrait"
[Photo by Leigh McManus]

This is the historic front of The Stonewall Club during the parade -- with approximately 1,000 people proudly packed on the block.  The 1969 "Stonewall Car" is stopped right in front of the club.  Pictured to the left (literally) of the car's rainbow flag is the renowned Hal Weiner (with black leather hat and arm raised).  To the right of the flag is Williamson Henderson (in purple tee shirt with fingers' peace sign), Amir Qaharr (with white cap sitting in front seat of car), Rev. Magora Kennedy (in red outfit with arms outstretched), Chyna Fucito (in orange sitting on side of car), Ray McCaffrey (with white cap), Dave West (with blue cap and bare-chested), Dianne Yodice (with head turned, blabbing away), Electra O'Mara (holding S.V.A. sign) and Mitchell Miller (in turquoise shirt).  Other Stonewall Vetz were in front of, behind and on other side of the flagship "Stonewall Car".  Oh, incidentally, in the background on the far left side is IQKNY's lovely Princess Jenni June Egan  (wearing the big red hat).  In the parade, Jenni was stuck ridin' up top on that ugly, old farm wagon disrespectfully 'provided' via Heritage Of Pride (free to HOP by the Bond Float Co.) and plastered with their HOP signs not S.V.A.! 




 


The symbolic "Stonewall Car" glides down Gay Christopher Street
[Photo by Luis D. Torres]

Driving the magnificent classic vehicle very gingerly in front of the adoring crowds is the SVA's popular Financial Secretary Ray McCaffrey.  Riding shotgun (also wearing a white cap) is S.V.A. big tough guy vet Amir Qaharr.  Sitting across the top with colorful backs to the camera are (l-2-r):  Reverend Magora Kennedy (red), Dianne Yodice (blue) and Countess Chyna (orange).




 

Readers responses to an informative Gay Pride Story in The Blade 
for Gay Pride Weekend on the STONEWALL Veterans' Association


LETTERS to The Blade

Stonewall Veterans and others respond!

Friday, July 04, 2003

To the Editor of The New York Blade:

One article in any periodical truly evoked the real “Spirit of Stonewall”:  Your writer, Larry Pfeil, Jr., covered the real thing, the veterans of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, in his comprehensive, evocative and emotional story, “Memories Fade, Apathy Grows ... Who Will Tell Our Story?” (June 27, 2003).

He told of the local history of the grassroots civil-rights movement that ignited on five nights at and in front of the historic Stonewall Club.  He showed photos of Stonewall Veterans then and now.  And he presented some of the “Stonewall Stories” he gleaned at the recent “Stonewall Symposium.”

I was there. Although we differ with his head-count in contrast with our signed “Attendance Sheet,” his well-taken point is that there should be more support of the renowned and open organization that dutifully represents the “SW-Vetz,” the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans’ Association.

Public officials who supported the GLBT community in the 1970s were few and far between.  The ones who did were usually the result of being approached and persuaded by the S.V.A. and the Gay Activists Alliance.

Now most public officials seem more interested in the Gay vote than Gay history and the Gay movement.  They are more interested in seeing which one has a bigger contingency in the Pride Parade than paying their respects at the parade line-up to the Stonewall Veterans.

It’s not the elected officials who legitimized the GLBT community but the participants ion the Stonewall Rebellion.  Let’s keep politics out of it and be aware of those who inject it.

We thank Williamson Henderson, Storme DeLarverie, Jeremiah Newton, Mary Twist, Bert Coffman, Electra O’Mara, Terri Van Dyke, Dianne Yodice, Emile Griffith, Cristina Hayworth, Dave West, Rev. Magora Kennedy, Charles Snyder, Ruthybird Campbell and so few others who tirelessly give of themselves to keep the history of Stonewall and the GLBT community alive.  There was a popular post-Stonewall song by Freda (“Band of Gold”) Payne in the early 1970s entitled “Cherish What is Dear to You While It’s Near to You.”

Thank you Stonewall Veterans and your 1969 “Stonewall Car”, the rolling symbol of GLBT Pride!  And now, thank you, New York Blade.

LEIGH P. McMANUS
STONEWALL Newzletta
Manhattan, New York

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To the Blade Editor:

Yes, we all now regret that there is no photographic history of the Stonewall Rebellion, either on video tape or on candid shots, and while the general disinterest in the mainstream media is historic, please do not forget the political climate and attitudes of the times.  Any photographer, be it a news photographer or simply a local wanting to record the event would have been 'stoned' by most of the participants of the rebellion.  Identifying images in photographs as homosexual in 1969 was a deeply rooted taboo.

The photos of Gay bars and Gay life in the article in Life magazine a year or two before Stonewall had the faces of the participants hidden in shadows, if a homosexual was interviewed as such on a TV talk show, they either had their face hidden with a black box, or wore a mask.

While it was the belief that the rebellion was not newsworthy that certainly kept television and press photographers from the Village on those five nights, it was out of respect for the understandable privacy of the participants of the rebellion that others did not photograph the event.

You ask, was the world really that strange?  Was the closet door truly so severely locked in 1969?  Yes it was, and that is what made the Stonewall Rebellion such a historic event — and thank God, forever changed those attitudes.

DAVID GAARD
Greenwich Village

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To the New York Blade Editor:

As the Legal Advisor to the STONEWALL Rebellion Veterans' Association, let me congratulate The New York Blade on your fine feature story about the legendary Stonewall veterans.  It is nice that someone in the GLBT community understands the debt the kids who are so 'out', supported and comfortable today owe to these veterans of what was surely a war; a war in which the few survived, between homophobic medical professionals back in those days, Mafia-owned bars like the Stonewall Club and the lack of a Gay Community Center, GMHC, or any of the support services available today.  To say nothing of the recent decision last week of the U.S. Supreme Court.

There is. however, a correction:  The photograph of the handsome young man in the Beatles hairdo is not Jeremiah Newton (as erroneously stated), but Williamson Henderson, my client of many years’ standing.  Actually, it is the police department mug shot that I got back from his Stonewall arrest at some point after the many court appearances from 1969 to 1970.  As a direct result of the Stonewall rebellion in 1969, by 1970 there were sit-in demos galore at City Hall, the courts, and wherever.  Williamson had been wrongfully arrested and, after we vindicated him, we got his fingerprints and mug shots back. Allegedly.  (I still think if he demanded them back now, he’d get yet another set.)

Pfeil correctly analyzes the situation; we must preserve for the future generations the story, and the images and the people who started it all.  If it were not for the Stonewall Veterans, and the drag queens and trannies such as Marsha and Sylvia Rivera, you would not have the community assets and support groups you have today, from GLAAD and GMHC to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund for Gay Rights.

The visible symbol, of course, is the Stonewall Car, the 1969 blue Cadillac convertible in which I was finally privileged to ride down the lavender stripe Sunday for the first time in 34 years!  The late U.S. Senator Patrick Daniel Moynihan described the historic car as “the visible rolling symbol of Gay Pride”.

Would that some of the local politicians currying the GLBT vote had your sense of history!  They too often ignore the car, the vets and the original issues, some of which are still with us today.  The disgusting caption in the New York Post of the single shot of a person in drag was that paper’s only coverage of a parade far larger than all the others in New York City.

As Williamson rightly declares:  "No Stonewall, no pride!"

HAL M. WEINER, Legal Advisor
STONEWALL Veterans' Association
Founding General Counsel,
Gay Activists Alliance




 
October

Gay History Month
2017

*


=====2017:  48th Anniversary of the Gay Stonewall Rebellion=====
[Friday night, June 27 ~through~ Thursday evening, July 3, 1969, Manhattan, New York City]

   



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