June 26, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order to Establish LGBT Memorial Commission for Monument Honoring Fight for Equal Rights and All Victims of Hate, Intolerance and Violence

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Governor also Designates Legendary Stonewall Inn as New York State Historic Site

State Unveils New York “Open Doors Campaign” to Promote State’s Historic Embrace of Diversity; Ads to Run in New York, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas 

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed Executive Order No. 158 launching a new LGBT Memorial Commission to provide recommendations on the establishment of a new monument in New York City honoring the LGBT community, those lost in Orlando and all victims of hate, intolerance and violence. 

 

As part of the announcement, the Governor also designated the legendary Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement, a New York State historic site. The extraordinary Greenwich Village bar and tavern, and the riots that occurred there in the late 1960s, sparked a national movement that later led to marriage equality in New York, first-in-the-nation executive action to protect transgender individuals, and regulations to ban conversion therapy. The Governor made the announcements at the LGBT Community Center ahead of the 46th annual Pride Parade in New York City.

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The Governor also unveiled the “Open Doors Campaign,” a new promotional effort highlighting New York’s longstanding role as a national leader in the fight for LGBT rights, freedom and social justice. The campaign, which includes three digital and broadcast advertisements, will begin airing this Sunday and run in New York, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas throughout the summer. 

 

"It is more important than ever that we stand up for the LGBT community and ensure everyone is treated with dignity, fairness and respect,” Governor Cuomo said. “In the wake of tragedy in Orlando, I am establishing a commission to create a monument honoring the fight for equal rights and all victims of hate, intolerance and violence. New York continues to be a beacon for justice and we will never waiver in our commitment to the LGBT community and creating a more just and inclusive society.”

 

Following the tragic shooting that occurred in Orlando, Florida on June 12, the Governor issued Executive Order No. 158, establishing the LGBT Memorial Commission. As New Yorkers and Americans continue to mourn this loss, the Commission will work to design and build a new memorial in honor of the LGBT community and the victims of the Orlando shooting. The state has identified two potential locations for the memorial, including Battery Park City, overlooking the Statue of Liberty, or Chelsea Piers on the western edge of the Greenwich Village.

 

The Memorial Commission will begin its work immediately and provide recommendations to the Governor pertaining to the site, design and installation of the memorial no later than December 31, 2016. The commission will be comprised of ten members appointed by the Governor, and be overseen and coordinated by Counsel to the Governor Alphonso David. LGBT Memorial Commission members include: 

  • Scott P. Campbell, Executive Director Elton John Aids Foundation; 
  • Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; 
  • Cristina Herrera, Founder and CEO of Translatina Network; 
  • Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer of the Hetrick-Martin Institute; 
  • Kelsey Louie, Executive Director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis; 
  • Eunic Ortiz, President of the Stonewall Democrats; 
  • Christine Quinn, CEO of Women and Need and marriage equality advocate;
  • Melissa Sklarz, Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund; 
  • Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of the NYC Anti-Violence Project; and 
  • Glennda Testone, Executive Director of the New York LGBT Community Center. 

The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village serves as an international symbol of LGBT rights and the fight for equality. In 1969, after regular harassment and persistent threats by the New York City Police Department, the LGBT community led an uprising and fought back against decades of city-sanctioned bigotry and oppression. In recognition of Stonewall’s historical significance, the Governor issued a citation directing the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to designate the bar and tavern a state historic site. The process will be overseen by the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. 

 

The announcement follows President Obama’s recent declaration of the first national monument to LGBT rights in Christopher Park, located directly across from the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. In April 2015, the Governor signed legislation (S.6891/A.9454), which made this designation possible by allowing New York City to transfer Christopher Park to the United States government. 

 

The "Open Doors Campaign” features top executives of New York State-headquartered Fortune 500 companies who reflect how New York’s business community is strengthened through its diversity. Featured leaders include: Ajaypal Singh Banga, President and CEO, MasterCard; Martin Chavez, CIO, Goldman Sachs and; Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, Pepsico. The campaign, which includes three digital and broadcast advertisements, will begin airing this Sunday and run in New York, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas throughout the summer. To view the ads, please click here, here, and here.

Governor Cuomo Makes an Announcement at LGBT Community Center
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The Governor kicked off the 46th annual Pride Parade at the LGBT Community Center before marching along Fifth Avenue with more than 600 New Yorkers and LGBT Americans. At the parade, the Governor was joined by Glennda Testone, Executive Director of the LGBT Center New York; Terry DeCarlo, Executive Director of the Central Florida LGBT Center; Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action; Raffi Freedman-Gurspan Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White house; Jacqui Kilmer, Chief Executive Officer of Harlem United; Thomas Krever, Executive Director of HMI; George Gresham, President of 1199 SEIU; Stuart Appelbaum, President of RWDSU; Randi Weingarten, President of American Federation of Teachers; Michael Mulgrew, President of United Federation of Teachers; Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor; Roberta Reardon, Commissioner of the NYS Department of Labor; Sam Roberts, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Temporary Disability Assistance; Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Executive Deputy Commissioner Andy Beers; and Audrey Zibelman, Chair of the NYS Department of Public Service. 

 

Terry DeCarlo, Executive Director of the Central Florida LGBT Center said, “The outpouring of love and support from not just New York’s LGBT community, but from all of New York State following the horrific events two weeks ago has been truly inspirational. While those of us in Central Florida are still very early in the recovery process, the love, kindness and support that you all have sent, gives us strength every single day. As history demonstrates, New York State has time and again shown the nation the way forward on fairness, justice and equality for the LGBT community, and today, Governor Cuomo is continuing that legacy. By establishing the LGBT Memorial Commission and designating Stonewall a state historic site, the Governor continues to march forward in the fight for fairness, equality and social justice for all people.” 

 

Scott P. Campbell, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation said, "As New Yorkers, we have the privilege of being surrounded by remarkable people -- of all ethnicities, beliefs and backgrounds. New York breeds acceptance, understanding and compassion. To live and work here is to embrace the diversity that makes our state unlike any other place in the world. I applaud Governor Cuomo for being a champion of equality, and I am humbled by the opportunity to honor the precious lives lost in Orlando as part of the Memorial Commission. I look forward to working together to reaffirm New York's unwavering love for all people, and continue the march forward towards equal rights and equal justice." 

 

Christine Quinn, CEO of WIN, said, “At Pulse we lost 49 of our brothers and sisters, this memorial will stand as a clarion call to all that the violence and the hatred that killed them and has hurt and killed so many others must end. If we forget, the deaths and the violence will not end. I thank Governor Cuomo for making sure we won't forget and moving us closer to a place that is safe for all LGBT.” 

 

Cristina Herrera, CEO and Founder of the Translatina Network, said, "New York has always led the way forward for social justice -- from Seneca Falls to Stonewall -- we have remained a steadfast beacon of progress and equality. It was the heroism of ordinary people who challenged the status quo and fought for the rights of all New Yorkers that has made this state a place of strength and compassion. From banning conversion therapy to strengthening healthcare for the transgender community, the Governor has upheld this legacy and fought to ensure equal protections for all New Yorkers. He shown the nation what it means to lead with conviction and courage, and I am proud to join him in that fight as a member of the LGBT Memorial Commission.” 

 

Melissa Sklarz, Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said, "I am honored to be chosen for the LGBT Memorial Commission. This announcement is yet another example of Governor Cuomo's unwavering support and advocacy for LGBT rights on the national stage. After the tragedy in Orlando, it is essential that all of our communities come together to fight for equality. The new LGBT Memorial in Greenwich Village will honor and celebrate those we have lost to hatred and intolerance." 

 

Eunic Ortiz, President of the Stonewall Democrats, said, "The tragic events in Orlando is another horrific reminder that the LGBTQ community is sadly no stranger to hate. While we have made many strides towards equality over the past few years, we still have a long road ahead of us. In New York, we proudly live in a state where our leadership has time and time again fought for our community. From achieving marriage equality, to implementing first-in-the-nation rights and protections for transgender New Yorkers to making it harder to obtain access to conversion therapy, Governor Cuomo has always fought to build on this state’s founding principles of diversity, inclusivity and respect. Today, with the launch of the LGBT Memorial Commission, we are taking another step in our fight for equality and respect.” 

 

Glennda Testone, Executive Director of the New York LGBT Community Center, said, “This is a big day for the LGBT community, and with the launch of the LGBT Memorial Commission, the Governor has once again proven his commitment to addressing inequality and injustice. The LGBT Memorial Commission will work to pay tribute to victims of violence and oppression across the nation, and I am proud to be appointed to serve and help make this historic monument a reality. I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership in the fight for the LGBT community – from marriage equality to executive action to ban discrimination against transgender individuals – he is a true friend and champion, and I look forward to continuing to work together to build on the good progress we have made.” 

 

Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC said, "In the wake of Orlando, the world saw the harsh reality that many LGBT people still deal with today, and I am honored to be a part of this historic project that will finally recognize all those we have lost to violence. It is easy to forget that everyday members of our community, predominately our trans brothers and sisters of color, are living in a perpetual fear of losing their lives. We will work together to make sure our community is safe not just on Pride, but everyday." 

 

Thomas Krever, Chief Executive Officer of the Hetrick-Martin Institute said, "Since 1969, New York has been a leader in the fight for equality. From achieving marriage equality, to banning conversion therapy to protecting transgender rights, Governor Cuomo is a true champion and friend to the LGBT community. The new LGBT Memorial and the designation of Stonewall as a national monument will build on this progress and show the nation once again that there is no place for hate in New York. This is a powerful message our Governor sends - particularly to LGBTQ youth - who can now tangibly see just how much they are loved and have a rightful place in our community and city. Together, we are united in love against intolerance."

 

Beverly Tillery, Executive Director of the NYC Anti-Violence Project said, “Governor Cuomo continues to lead the way forward in ensuring equal rights and justice for all people. From enacting marriage equality to first-in-the-nation protections for transgender individuals to banning conversion therapy, the Governor is not only a ally and advocate, but a leader who has achieved real change for the LGBTQ community. I am honored to be appointed to serve on the LGBT Memorial Commission, and look forward to working together to honor and commemorate those we have lost, and stand tall against hatred, and violence in all forms.” 

 

Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, "I commend Governor Cuomo for this important recognition of the LGBT community's heritage and building on New York State's legacy of welcoming all people 'yearning to breathe free.'"

 

Roberta Reardon, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor said, “As we recover from the shock and loss of the Orlando massacre, I am more proud than ever to live and work in a state that continues to lead the nation in the fight for LGBT rights and will soon be home to the first national monument to the progress of the LGBT movement. Governor Cuomo is a tireless advocate for the LGBT community and I am thrilled to be part of an administration that fights every day to end hatred and intolerance and ensure unity and diversity."

 

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “As a businessman with more than three decades of experience, I have seen first-hand how diversity and acceptance are vital to running a successful company and I am proud to promote Governor Cuomo's "Open Doors" campaign. Smart business leaders understand that diversity promotes and improves production in the workplace, while great talent is drawn to an environment of acceptance.”

 

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NY continues to be a beacon for justice and we will never waiver in our commitment to the LGBT community and creating a more just and inclusive society.

Governor Cuomo
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Samuel D. Roberts, Commissioner of OTDA said, "I'm proud to march alongside Governor Cuomo in today's Pride Parade for many reasons, but especially for his long-time commitment to diversity and equal rights for all New Yorkers. Our State has historically been a national leader in welcoming people from all backgrounds, and I'm grateful that continuing this tradition is a priority for the Governor."

 

Audrey Zibelman, chair of the Public Service Commission, said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is leading the nation in equality and protecting LGBT rights in this great State, which has bettered all of our lives immensely."

 

Stuart Applebaum, President RWDSU, said, “From banning conversion therapy to marriage equality, New York has long been a beacon of opportunity for the LGBT community. Today New York marches to continue that progress and uphold our legacy as a national leader in fighting for LGBT equality. We are proud to stand with Governor Cuomo in the fight to create a more equal and just society for all."

 

George Gresham, President of 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers said, “For years, Governor Cuomo has lead the way forward in championing LGBT rights, and these initiatives launched today are further proof of his commitment to fairness and equality for all people. From enacting marriage equality to first-in-the-nation protections for transgender individuals to banning conversion therapy, the Governor has led the way forward in the fight for equal rights. I commend Governor Cuomo for his leadership and vision, and I look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that fairness and equality is afforded to all people.”

 

Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers said, "New York was the birthplace of the modern LGBT rights movement and that activism and progress continues today. From enacting marriage equality to nation-leading protections for transgender individuals to banning conversion therapy, no state has been more dedicated to advancing equal rights and equal justice for all people than NY. I commend the work Governor Cuomo and other New Yorkers have done to blaze the path of equality and break down the barriers of division and hate and for the initiatives launched today that will memorialize and commemorate those lives lost to intolerance, discrimination and violence.”

 

Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers President said, “New Yorkers have never given in to fear, to hate, to defeat. We are marching today to remember those we have lost and to show the world that, if anything, we are stronger, more united and more resilient than ever before. We are proud to march with Gov. Cuomo and all who are participating in today's Pride Parade." 

 

Shannon Watts, Founder of Moms Demand Action, said, “From fighting for and achieving marriage equality to protecting the transgender community, Governor Cuomo has been a champion for the LGBT community. What's more, he stands up to violence and discrimination in all forms -- and deeply understands the dangers that gun violence poses to the LGBT community. I am proud to walk with a governor who champions equality and gun violence prevention, which go hand-in-hand.” 

 

“The diversity of New York is the strength of New York,” said CEO & President, MasterCard Ajaypal Singh Banga.

 

“It’s what makes the place great. It’s why I’m here; it’s why I wouldn’t be anywhere else,” said CIO, Goldman Sachs Martin Chavez.

 

“New York doesn’t just make us feel at home, it makes everyone feel at home,” said Chairman, CEO, PepsiCo Indra Nooyi.

 

Throughout his tenure in office, Governor Cuomo has been a national leader in championing LGBT rights. In 2011, New York passed the historic Marriage Equality Act and sent a message to the nation that it was time to end one of society's greatest inequities. In 2015, Governor Cuomo implemented regulations affirming that all transgender individuals are protected under the State’s Human Rights Law, and all public and private employers, housing providers, businesses, creditors and others should know that discrimination against transgender persons is unlawful and will not be tolerated in New York state. 

 

Additionally, the Governor Cuomo has committed to making New York the first state in the nation to end the HIV/AIDS epidemicbanned the deplorable practice of conversion therapy, and strengthened health care and insurance regulations to protect transgender New Yorkers. Just this week, the Governor announced that all HIV-Positive individuals in New York City will now be eligible for housing, transportation and nutritional support through a significant expansion of Emergency Shelter Assistance. This marks the latest in a series of actions that the state has taken to protect all New Yorkers from discrimination, building on the historic enactment of the Hate Crimes Act which made discrimination based on sexual orientation illegal in 2000.

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