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During the first few weeks of this year, I found myself at the ONE Archives at the University of Southern California as I prepared to start my new job as the editor in chief of The Advocate. And I came across something that changed how I approached this job in a profound way.
Deep in the archives of the world's largest collection of LGBTQ history was an original copy of the second issue of The Advocate -- from 1967 -- which was more newsletter than the glossy magazine it has become.
And what stood out to me the most -- even more than the 25 cent price tag -- was the headline above the fold: "L.A. Cops, Gay Groups Seek Peace." The story was on how queer activists held a meeting with the L.A. Police Department after a string of incidents -- one being the historic Black Cat riots, which predate the Stonewall riots and led to the creation of The Advocate.
As a journalist who has spent many years writing about the tensions between our community and the police, and as a queer person of color who must navigate the police constantly, a chord was struck for me. It struck me because it could be literally written today.
And ever since then, a phrase has been stuck in my head that maybe the queer gods whispered to me there: "We must look back if we want to move forward."And it's this phrase that brings me to today, where I'd like to announce that we are bringing back the original logo from that same issue I found, but with a few modern updates.
We as a community have survived so much: the police brutality that inspired this very magazine, the AIDS epidemic, Stonewall and other riots that broke out and created a foundation for our revolution, and even this morning, when you woke up in Trump's America.
It's this resilience that has stood the test of time, just like this magazine, that I think should be the focus as we prepare for Stonewall's 50th anniversary alongside Pride season. Because while things are difficult today, they were also hard yesterday and the yesterday before that. One thing I've always admired most about queer people is that even while knowing this we never give up -- and this logo is testament to that.
So, to kick off Pride, I could not think of any better way to honor this history of resilience and fight than to pay homage to the editors, publishers, and writers who paved the way for our current team.
And to help us announce this change, please meet the cover stars: activists spanning from before Stonewall to luminaries of today who use social media to ensure that what happened in Greenwich Village doesn't fade into history.
People like Agosto Machado and Achebe Powell, who were fighting for people like us in the streets of New York even before Stonewall. And people like model and activist Chella Man who represent the radical journalists who created that first Advocate logo.
The covers themselves are also part of a larger body of work showcasing 15 intergenerational portraits of LGBTQ+ activists and artists photographed by the incredible Collier Schorr. The images were made possible through a partnership with the Alice Austen House, the LGBT Center of New York, and a grant provided by Google, as well as a historic multiyear partnership that is known as the Stonewall 50 Consortium, an organization committed to producing programming related to the LGBTQ civil rights movement.
The work will be shown throughout Pride season at Staten Island's Alice Austen House starting today -- so please visit if you can.
And it all doesn't stop here: Beginning today, there will be more surprises as we head into Pride. We will be launching our yearly Champions of Pride next week with some familiar faces alongside our print edition.
On June 4, we will be helping Google and the LGBT Center of New York unveil Stonewall Forever, a project created to expand on the 2016 designation of the Stonewall National Monument; the initiative will create an interactive monument in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the uprising. It will be a accessible via the web, on a mobile app, and as an augmented reality experience in Christopher Street Park in the West Village. You can even upload your own image and Pride story from anywhere in the world. On that day, we will be helping our friends give you a deeper dive into the subjects of our cover stars.
But as for today, we give you this new look. We hope that these covers and the individuals on them demonstrate that the secret to making history is not big moments led by extraordinary people, but rather small ones that allow ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Things like Stonewall that change all of us ... forever.
Photographs: Collier Schorr
Produced by Paul Moakley and Victoria Munro
Recruitment: The LGBT Center of New York and Google through their Stonewall Forever Project
Funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, Humanities NY, New York Community Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts