Continuing the Human Rights Legacy of Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt

On Saturday, June 15th, Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park is transforming its monumental staircase into a rainbow flag, an invitation for all to #AscendWithPride to celebrate WorldPride coming to New York City. That afternoon, the park will be open to friends and family from 12:00-6:00pm. There will be food trucks for a special picnic on the lawn; VideoOut will be onsite capturing coming out stories; and Drag Queen Story Hour will be reading books focused on diversity and inclusion provided by Little Bee Books.

The Four Freedoms outlined in my great-grandfather’s 1941 State of the Union address included freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Our concept of human rights is always evolving; the idea of freedom is not static. Part of the park’s mission in commemorating and celebrating those freedoms is to educate current and future generations and to inspire them to re-define and re-imagine those concepts for themselves.

The coincidence of WorldPride with the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is an important moment for New York City and for the LGBTQ+ movement worldwide. I’m inspired by how forward thinking the Four Freedoms were in 1941 and I would like to think that if my great-grandparents were alive today, they would include LGBTQ+ rights among those for which they advocated and fought. As a member of the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy’s Board of Directors, I am excited to align with WorldPride in New York City and to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ movement and those fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in a visible and inclusive way.

— Julia Ireland, June 2019