NEW YORK -- The Yankees have announced the creation of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative, which will commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising and celebrate the achievements of New York City Public School graduating seniors. The team also revealed that it will hold other LGBTQ community-themed commemorations
NEW YORK -- The Yankees have announced the creation of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative, which will commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising and celebrate the achievements of New York City Public School graduating seniors. The team also revealed that it will hold other LGBTQ community-themed commemorations during the 2019 season.
The Yankees-Stonewall initiative will provide $50,000 worth of scholarships through five $10,000 college scholarships to be presented to one student from each of the five boroughs of New York City. The recipients of the awards will be celebrated during the Yankees' homestand from June 17-26, 2019.
"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 statement. "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."
The scholarships are intended to offer resources to students who have demonstrated academic achievement, a commitment to equality and impactful support for the LGBTQ community. The selection process will be conducted by the New York City Department of Education, with public high schools being able to nominate one graduating senior from each school for selection.
The Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative is a result of a collaboration between the Yankees, Stonewall Inn, the New York City Department of Education and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
"The Yankees are symbolic with New York City," Yankees president Randy Levine said. "We recognize very, very significant, historical moments that have taken place in New York City, and obviously Stonewall is one of them. On behalf of the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees, we're thrilled to do this. This is important and significant. We are going to put all of the resources of the Yankees behind it."
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. The raid sparked six days of violent protest among patrons and neighborhood residents, widely considered to have served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.
"This is a giant victory for the LGTBQ community," said Stacy Lentz, the co-owner of the Stonewall Inn and founder of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. "Having the Yankees partner in such a real, authentic and amazing way, and working with the Department of Education and the Mayor's Office, it's incredible.
"I think we're going to change a lot of lives, not just with the scholarships but everything we're going to do together around the celebration of Stonewall 50 and World Pride. It's an opportunity to show visibility for LGTBQ youth who are often bullied and sometimes stigmatized."
Each summer, New York City hosts NYC Pride, which includes its famed Pride March. In 2019, New York will simultaneously be the home of WorldPride 2019, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. This sixth edition of WorldPride will be the first held in the United States and the second held in North America.
"We're really excited and proud to be part of something special," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "We're always trying to win on the field, but we're also trying to be strong community members off the field. That's where the most important victories can take place."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.