Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Special Heritage Celebrations

Pride Month

image of Brenda Howard
Marsha P. Johnson, one of the prominent figures during
the Stonewall protests. Photo credit: Randolfe Wicker

June is National Pride Month and this year marks the 50th anniversary of the very first Pride march. June was chosen as Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall protests championed by members of the LGBTQIA+ community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. One of the trailblazers notably present was black transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson, who has in recent years become the face of the Stonewall protest.
The Stonewall protest was originally commemorated a month after it occurred, by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, known as "The Mother of Pride." Howard is largely credited as having started Pride Month when she helped coalesce a group for the first Pride March the following year. Continuing her pioneering efforts, the celebration of Pride Month has come to encompass all members of the LGBTQIA+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual, or Allies).

Stonewall marked a turning point for the gay liberation movement in the United States with protestors demanding the establishment of places where LGBTQIA++ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest. These protests also sparked the beginning of Pride Month as most of it know it today. On June 27, 1970, the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall protest, the first Pride march was held in New York City.
June 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of annual LGBTQIA+ Pride events. This year's theme "The Future Is…", a sentiment meant to celebrate diversity and inclusion among queer people while connecting the past, present, and future of the LGBTQIA+ community. The New York City Pride Parade has historically been one of the largest parades in the world with over 2 million people estimated to have attended in 2019.

See Governor Cuomo's Pride Month 2020 Proclamation (PDF).

Environmental Resources for the LGBTQ+ Community

Out for Sustainability (OUT4S) (leaves DEC) - OUT4S is a LGBTQ+ nonprofit dedicated to the improvements of our social and physical environment, making a difference by its very existence to bridge queer identity and sustainability values.

Since 2008, this organization has hosted over 4,000 people at more than 100 events in seven states. Events ranged from service projects through the Earth Gay program to our national summit, Fab Planet. In addition to in-person community action, OUT4S serves as the voice of LGBTQ sustainability values, speaking at conferences around the country and writing for, and being featured in, publications around the world.

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and celebrates Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month originated with Congress beginning in 1977 by proclaiming the first ten days as Pacific/Asian American Heritage week. During the next decade, presidents passed annual proclamations for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week until 1990 when Congress passed Public Law 101-283 (PDF), which expanded the observance to a month. Then in 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450 (PDF) which annually designated May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.

More Information

The Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution and more join in paying tribute to those Asian/Pacific Islander Americans who have enriched America's history. For more information visit, the Asian/Pacific Islander American Heritage website.

National Park Service's Introduction to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

NBC News article on resources and information celebrating Asian and Pacific American history and culture


  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8044.
  • Contact for this Page
  • DEC- Office of Communication Services
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-4500
    518-402-8044
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions