New York City has been going all out for PRIDE this month to honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Riots served as a pivotal moment in the movement for LGBTQI rights and with the 50th Anniversary celebrations taking place during WorldPride in NYC this June, it’s fair to say it’s a big month.
In addition to many of NYCs LGBTQI inclusive sports teams hosting special events, many of the professional teams are putting on their rainbows as well. Here is what they’re up to.
New York Yankees announced in September 2018 the Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative which will provide $50,000 worth of scholarship money to graduating seniors who have “demonstrated academic achievement, commitment to equality and impactful support for the LGBTQ community.” The recipients will be named and honored on June 25th during a pre-game ceremony at Yankee Stadium with each recipient coming from one of the five boroughs in NYC.
“Through this initiative we are proud to recognize the profound historical impact of Stonewall and celebrate the many meaningful contributions of the LGBTQ community,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a news release last year. “The Yankees wholeheartedly support equality for all individuals and applaud any efforts which make our society more inclusive and tolerant. It is our hope that this scholarship program will serve as a springboard for young LGBTQ student community members and advocates as they continue the pursuit of their dreams, ambitions and livelihoods.”
New York City Football Club hosted a pride night on June 6th at Yankee Stadium with a portion of each ticket purchased going towards a local LGBTQI charity organization. In addition, the athletes wore rainbow jerseys and will continue to wear them throughout the month for warm ups before they’re donated to a local organization. NYC FC Pride Night featured a performance of the national anthem by the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus and in partnership with Athlete Ally hosted a panel on LGBTQI inclusion in sports prior to the game.
New York Knicks and the New York Rangers teamed up with the Hetrick-Martin Institute and the Kiki Coalition to incorporate basketball and street hockey into the Youth Pride Festival. The Knicks will also be marching in the Pride Parade and the Rangers will be sending a team of staff and alumnus to take part in the NYC Gay Hockey Association’s Chelsea Challenge and will be marching with You Can Play during the Pride Parade.
New York Liberty and New York Red Bulls will both be holding a Pride Night game at their respective facilities on June 28th with various giveaways offered for fans.
New York Giants and New York Jets are sponsoring Gay Bowl XIX this October and has regularly sponsored a team in the New York Gay Flag Football League for several years now.
We are glad to see such professional sports teams stepping up this year for Pride and more importantly, contributing to LGBTQI organizations and causes.
By Dirk Smith