Saturday, May 22, 2010

Honoring Harvey Milk on His 80th Birthday

Harvey Bernard Milk. He was born on this day in 1930 and was slain on November 27th 1978. The murderer was Dan White, a City Supervisor who wanted his job back, who killed not only Harvey Milk but Mayor George Moscone. I was 15 years old. Harvey B.Milk was the first openly gay man elected to office in California. Like myself, Mr. Milk was from New York, before moving to California, where he would eventually set into motion the means of communication among straights and gays. He would show that even back then, America was indeed a place where a gay man could succeed. Although he wasn’t fully out or involved in gay rights until he was in his 40's he was pivotal in spreading the need for gay rights and awareness of what it meant to be gay.

Today 32 years later, the need and the cry for Civil gay rights reaches an all time high, as we in the LGBT community continue to fight fpr our rights. We fight because we realize that those like Harvey Milk, Frank Kameny, and Larry Kramer, helped paved a way. Today it is up to us to continue that path that was started. It has been a very long road, but progress is being made daily, regardless of those that would try to stop it. Gays, lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgender citizens will not be complacent. We will do what we must while we fight for our right to federal benefits, burial decisions, tax benefits, and more than 1,138 rights that continue to be stripped from us.

We owe much, as history has taught us, to those that have come before us. We owe much to Harvey Milk. I know I do. There is a phrase that goes “ No man is an island”. It remains true today, although together we all make one World. It’s a world that is slowly realizing that civil rights cannot and will not be denied to those that are willing to fight for it.

On July 30th 2009 President Barack Obama awarded Mr. Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously. President Obama isn’t alone in honoring Mr,. Milk. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed Senate Bill 572 which made the first “Harvey Milk Day” possible today. It is indeed a day to celebrate, but also a day to move forward to repeal, Doma, as well as Don’t ask don’t tell, and enact Enda. The best way to honor Harvey Milk and those who have fought tirelessly, is by calling Congress, writing, your representatives, making yourself heard.

L. Stuart Milk, the nephew of Harvey Milk declared:

We are celebrating my uncle’s powerful story and enduring legacy that has provided a message of hope and self acceptance to the state, the nation and the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and well beyond.

So let us continue to celebrate not only Harvey Milk Day, but Harvey Milk’s life, as well as our own. We can do this by making sure that America accepts and treats all of its citizens equally. We will not stop fighting for that equality. Happy Harvey Milk Day!


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