I love documentaries, the histories of history, recounting and relating our past to the present and future. It’s why I’m drawn to futurism, and why I’m so fascinated by cities and social movements.

In summer 2009, as soon as I put down Jeremy Peters’ op-ed for The New York Times, “Why the Gay Rights Movement Has No National Leader,” I wanted to know if his claims were true. Over 10 days that summer, I caught up with surviving GLF founders, who, by that time, were scattered across the country.

The result was 40 Years After Stonewall, a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the beginning of the modern queer rights movement.

In a short time, I explored the compelling lives of a group of kids who came to New York to “make it big,” or to simply be themselves, blending in with the city’s teeming diversity. How they converged—how their adventures brought them face to face with figures like Huey Newton of the Black Panthers, AIDS activist Larry Kramer and civil rights icon Jane Fonda—you can read for yourself.

These interviews are a resource for historians, activists, and social advocates. With Stonewall 50 approaching, I’m excited to see how we can improve on the 2009 series.