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‘Rainbows on his mind’: Times Square billboards announce America’s first LGBTQ national monument

Date: June 30, 2016

Summary:
Though the announcement was made via a press release Friday, a much bigger splash was made in New York City beginning Saturday at noon, when billboards in Times Square began looping a video produced by the White House.

Body:
Last week, President Obama and family visited Carlsbad Caverns and Yosemite National Park to celebrate the upcoming centennial of the National Park Service, promote the administration’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, warn against the dangers of climate change (obviously), and, in a low-key way, promote diversity and inclusion, noting that the beauty of the National Park System is that “it belongs to everybody.”

It was two years ago when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a study to identify places associated with LGBTQ Americans for inclusion in National Park Service parks and programs, and the president finally came through in a big way Friday by designating the new 7.7 acre Stonewall National Monument in New York City, site of the 1969 riot known as the Stonewall Uprising.

Though the announcement was made via a press release Friday, a much bigger splash was made in New York City beginning Saturday at noon, when billboards in Times Square began looping a video produced by the White House.

Not only does the giant video correspond with New York City’s Pride festival; it also allows the president’s head to appear full-size as he celebrates his own evolution from the 2008 presidential candidate who told MTV, “I am not in favor of gay marriage,” to the president who declared the bathing of the White House in rainbow lighting following the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage “pretty cool.”

The president also dedicated his weekly address to the new national monument, noting that in 1969, “…riots became protests; the protests became a movement; the movement ultimately became an integral part of America” — essentially the inverse order of the country’s code of conduct under his administration, where movements seeded online by special interests spawn protests which then turn into riots.

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