Her Actions Helped Spark A Revolution Against Police Violence

Mural of Marsha P. Johnson
Zain Murdock
September 7, 2021

Around 3:00 a.m. on June 28, 1969, the NYPD burst into a booming club and began frisking, searching, and sexually harassing patrons. 

But when police turned to full-on beatings, 25-year-old Marsha P. Johnson had had ENOUGH – and took matters into her own hands.

Some say she hurled a brick at police, shattering one of Stonewall Inn’s windows. Others say it was a shot glass, or that she smashed the windshield of a police car. Whatever it was, a riot was in full swing!

Stonewall was one of the only safe spaces LGBTQ people could exist in those days – and the patrons drastically outnumbered the cops. They threw bottles, rocks, and anything else they could find. 

The riot lasted five days, with thousands of protesters! And Johnson?

She called for social and economic justice, housed homeless youth shunned by their families, and advocated for HIV/AIDS patients. She did all this while being impoverished herself and being arrested “over 100 times."

Unfortunately, her body was discovered in the Hudson River in 1992. Police said it was a suicide and refused to further investigate her death.

Through the Stonewall Riots, Johnson’s legacy is the LGBTQ rights movement itself, prompting the first Pride parades in 1970. 

ALL Black people deserve to live and love freely – and like Johnson, we have to fight police violence everywhere we see it!

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