National LGBTQ+ history at Illinois Holocaust Museum

On October 17, during LGBTQ+ History Month, Illinois Holocaust Museum will open the groundbreaking exhibit, Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, which explores the June 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn as the flashpoint that ignited the modern gay rights movement in the United States. In the last 50 years since the Stonewall Uprising, America’s LGBTQ+ population has struggled for equal rights and representation under the law. Rise Up shares those voices and tells the stories of this movement.

While grounded in the Stonewall Uprising, connections to Chicago and the celebration of LGBTQ+ pride in Chicagoland are on display, including images of the first gay pride parade in Chicago in 1970 and photographs of recent pride celebrations from local photographer Kathleen Hinkel. The exhibition also features a projection in the gallery showing the 400+ LGBTQ Hall of Fame inductees.

Blending together historic images and artifacts of the LGBTQ+ rights movement both nationally and locally, the 85 items on display in Rise Up include posters from Harvey Milk’s campaign for public office in San Francisco, a rainbow flag in its original colors signed by its creator Gilbert Baker, and early LGBTQ magazines and publications.

What: Exhibition Opening – Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement

When: Opening October 17

Where: Illinois Holocaust Museum, 9603 Woods Drive Skokie, IL 60077

Following the exhibition’s opening, Illinois Holocaust Museum will host an opening program onsite and virtually on October 17 where guests will hear first-hand accounts from trailblazing activists as they discuss events that took place at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 and the worldwide rise of LGBTQ+ activism.

Panelists will include Mark Segal, Stonewall Uprising participant & Founder of Philadelphia Gay News, as well as President of both The National LGBT Press Association and The National Gay Newspaper Guild; Vanessa Warri, a transgender Nigerian-American researcher, strategist, and advocate, who specializes in the liberation, empowerment and safety of Black transgender women, and Chicago’s Art Johnston, Co-Founder of Equality Illinois and activist & leader in Chicago’s growing LGBTQ+ community. Award-winning journalist Erin Blakemore, whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Time, The Atlantic, and National Geographic will moderate the conversation.

What: Exhibition Opening Program – Panel Discussion: Legacy of Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement

When: October 17, 3:30 PM CT

Who: Mark Segal, Stonewall Uprising participant & Founder of Philadelphia Gay News

Vanessa Warri, activist

Art Johnston, Co-founder of Equality Illinois

Erin Blakemore, award-winning journalist

Where: Onsite & Virtual

Registration Link:

About Illinois Holocaust Museum

Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center honors the Survivors and victims of the Holocaust and transforms history into current, relevant, and universal lessons in humanity. Through world-class exhibitions and programs, the Museum provides a universal call to action: Take history to heart. Take a stand for humanity. The Museum is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM with last admission at 4:00 PM. For more information visit

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

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