Those first demonstrators left Greenwich Village, the crowd growing larger block by block until finally making it to Central Park.
“There had never been such a large group of LGBT people to leave the village and march across town all the way to Central Park, 50 blocks long, to show visibility and that we were out, loud and proud of who we were. In 1970, that was unusual,” said Mark Segal.
Segal, a pioneer of the Gay Rights Movement and the Grand Marshall of that first parade in 1970.
“I got chills down my back and a feeling of joy to realize that we had really, in this first year between Stonewall and Gay Pride, created a really existing LGBT movement,” Segal said.
For activist and author Karla Jay, who was just 22 years old in 1970, the memories of that day are as fresh as ever.
“I was 22 years old at the time of the Stonewall Uprising,” Jay said. “We could not even hold hands in public, let alone consider getting married.”
These two activists say they can identify with the social and civil unrest on the streets of New York City now, and urging those demonstrating against police brutality to learn a lesson from their activism, and that creating real change takes persistence and patience.