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National Politics Panel at Historic Congress Hall

April 13, 2015, Philadelphia, PA - The organizers of the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration (July 2 to 5) today announced that the National Politics Panel with LGBT movement leaders will be held in historic Congress Hall. The National Politics Panel will be moderated by Kevin Naff, Editor, Washington Blade.  Panelists include Kirk Fordham, Executive Director, Gill Action Fund, Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Stacey Long Simmons, Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs, LGBTQ Task Force, and Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress.

The panel will be held on Thursday evening, July 2nd in historic Congress Hall, where the U.S. House of Representatives first met from 1790 to 1800. "It is a rare day that Congress Hall is provided. This reflects the pride that Independence National Historical Park and National Park Service take in the organized LGBT civil rights movement having been launched at Independence Hall with picketing demonstrations each July 4th from 1965 to 1969." stated Malcolm Lazin, Chair, LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration. There is a Gay Pioneers historic marker directly across the street from Independence Hall.

"The National Politics Panel and LGBT 50th Anniversary events could not be more timely. Our national movement will gather shortly after the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality and at a time when the political landscape for LGBT Americans is dramatically changing." said Lazin.

The organized LGBT civil rights movement was launched when activists from New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia staged demonstrations for equality each Fourth of July from 1965 to 1969. When 40 activists picketed in front of Independence Hall in 1965, it was the largest demonstration for gay equality in world history.

Organized by pioneering gay activists Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings, these “Annual Reminders” laid the groundwork for the Stonewall riot in 1969. After Stonewall, Kameny and Gittings suspended the Annual Reminders and turned their energies to the 1970 march from Greenwich Village to Central Park marking the first anniversary of Stonewall.

From July 2 to 5, in Philadelphia, the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration includes panels, Gay Pioneers screening, fireworks, daily parties, LGBT history exhibits, concerts, National Interfaith Service, wreath laying at the Gay Pioneers historic marker, and street festival in the gayborhood with the highlight the one-hour LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony on a large stage in front of Independence Hall on July 4th.

There is no registration fee and most programs are fee and held on or near Independence Mall.

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