(Photo Credits: Screengrab from Netflix)

The East River State Park in Brooklyn has now been renamed the Marsha P. Johnson State Park. 

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the dedication just in time for Marsha P. Johnson’s 75th birthday this August 24, 2020. According to Gov. Cuomo’s announcement, the Marsha P. Johnson State Park is the first New York state park to “honor a LGBTQ person and transgender woman of color.” 

Gov. Cuomo said, “Too often, the marginalized voices that have pushed progress forward in New York and across the country go unrecognized, making up just a fraction of our public memorials and monuments.” He added, “Marsha P. Johnson was one of the early leaders of the LGBTQ movement, and is only now getting the acknowledgement she deserves. Dedicating this state park for her, and installing public art telling her story, will ensure her memory and her work fighting for equality lives on.”  

Apart from renaming the park after Johnson, the State will also be making additional improvements. These include a new park house/education center and a Marsha P. Johnson art installation to “celebrate her life and her role in the advancement of LGBTQ rights.” 

Read the announcement in full here. 

Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender woman, drag performer, and LGBTQ rights activist best remembered as one of the key figures of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. She was also a transgender rights pioneer and someone who advocated for the treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS.

More importantly, Marsha was dubbed as the LGBT community’s “drag mother.” This is because she helped the homeless LGBTQ youth by founding a trans-youth organization called Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries or STAR in 1970 along with another transgender woman, Sylvia Rivera, her close friend. 

If you don’t know who Marsha P. Johnson is, we wrote about her colorful life extensively for the 2020 Black History Month which you can read here. Netflix has also released a documentary about Marsha titled, “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,” which you can watch here

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