White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators celebrated LGBTQ Pride Month Monday night in a special ceremony that marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the modern LGBT civil rights movement, and honored local community leaders and institutions.

The Board's ninth Pride celebration coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, when police action against the Stonewall Inn, a gathering place for gay men in Greenwich Village, galvanized the community and touched off the modern gay rights movement.

Majority Leader Catherine Parker (D - Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye) presented a proclamation to The LOFT LGBT Community Center, a pillar of the Westchester community for more than 35 years, furthering the cause of inclusion, diversity and pride through education, advocacy and celebration.

Accepting on behalf of The LOFT, Executive Director Judy Troilo said, "On the 50th anniversary of Stonewall we're (also) reminded of, yes, how far we've come....but we still have a lot more work to do."

Noting in particular challenges currently faced by the transgender community, Troilo said, "We need to recognize that not only are we fighting to further our struggle for equality but we're now trying to protect what we've already achieved."

Legislator Kitley Covill (D- Bedford, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) presented a proclamation to Ariana Luz Quiñones, Coordinator of the Next Gen/Women's and Research Education Fund and Racial Justice Coordinator for YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester. The White Plains-native remembered coming out to friends as a teenager at a movie theater near the location of the Board's chambers. Quiñones said, "Here I am, eight years later, receiving this honor only two blocks away from there, never having imagined that anyone would celebrate me for being who I am, for being gay and gender non-conforming, for being someone who's still figuring it out and trying to help others to do the same."

Legislator Terry Clements (D - New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor) presented a proclamation to Shepard Verbas, Assistant Director of Programs and Services at The LOFT.

Speaking about the Stonewall Uprising of June 1969, which marks the start of the modern LGBT civil rights movement, Verbas said, "The trailblazers and the shoulders that we stand on had the wisdom and the courage to turn their oppression into love, unity and momentum for change. Remembering that each of us hold the same power to love, educate, influence, affirm, inspire and support one another is how we truly celebrate pride for the LGBT community. May we let the past 50 years of our movement inspire the next 50 to come."