Queens, NY – U.S Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Joe Crowley today announced that the legislation to rename the Jackson Heights Post Office, located at 7802 37th Avenue in Queens, as the “Jeanne and Jules Manford Post Office.” has passed in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Today, the Senate unanimously passed the bill, and the House unanimously passed the bill last month. With passage secured in both chambers of Congress, the bill now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. With this final signature, the post office would be renamed in honor of Jeanne and Jules Manford.
“Through their groundbreaking advocacy, Jeanne and Jules Manford were committed to the all-American value of equality,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. “Time and again, Jeanne and Jules Manford proved not only their love and acceptance toward their openly-gay son, Morty, but also as leaders of the LGBT community in New York and across the country. I am proud to have sponsored legislation that will rename the Jackson Heights Post Office in honor of these Queens natives and look forward to President Obama signing it into law, as it is a truly fitting tribute to the Manfords’ legacy of work.”
“Jeanne and Jules showed how love and passion can move us to make a positive change in our community,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Their advocacy is deeply engrained in the LGBT movement here in New York and around the country – from their unmatched love for their son, to the Queens Pride Parade marches every year on 37th Avenue, to their founding of an organization that for the last 44 years has fought for LGBT equality. This designation would be a fitting tribute to honor their courage in their decades-long fight for the LGBT community. I am pleased that this legislation has passed Congress and look forward to the President signing it into law.”
“In standing beside their son, Morty, after he was targeted for his sexual identity, Jeanne and Jules Manford helped ignite a sea change in the hearts and minds of the people of Queens, New York City, and across the country,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “Now, our effort to honor their legacy of love and courage is on its way to the President’s desk and on the verge of becoming a reality. The Jackson Heights Post Office, an important stop along the route of the Queens Pride Parade, will soon bear Jeanne and Jules’s names and I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and my colleagues in the House for their roles in honoring the Manfords, their work to advance LGBT rights, and the incredible impact it has had on the people of Queens.”
“A Post Office renaming might seem routine for some, but every June when the Queens Pride Parade passes in front of this PO, all can remember that their voice can change the world, as did Jeanne and Jules as allies to the LGBTQ community,” said Jody Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG National.
Jeanne Manford, a Queens native, publicly denounced the beating of her openly-gay son, Morty Manford, for protesting news coverage of the gay rights movement in 1972. Later that year, Jeanne and her husband, Jules, founded the Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, an organization that advocates on behalf of the LGBT community.
Jeanne Manford was the first Grand Marshall of the Queens Pride Parade, which passes in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office. After her passing in 2013, President Obama posthumously awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors an American civilian can receive, for her advocacy work. Jules Manford passed away in 1982.
Jeanne and Jules Manford are survived by their daughter, Suzanne Manford Swan.