Friday, September 4, 2009

Harvey Milk Day

Harvey Milk was the very first openly-gay person to be elected to office in the state of California, when he was elected as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. A year later, Harvey & the mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, were both assassinated by former city supervisor, Dan White, who served five years of a seven year sentence & was then paroled (yes, White was sentenced to seven years for killing 2 high-ranking city officials). About a year and a half after being released from prison, White subsequently committed suicide.

I mention this because the LGBTQI rights group, Equality California (EQCA) is asking not just Californians, but anyone interested in fairness & equality for all Californians (and all Americans), to sign a petition asking California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the bill (SB 572) that has passed the state's legislature creating a statewide Harvey Milk Day, in commemoration of Harvey's early, critical work to help advance the rights of LBGTQI people.

Apparently Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill once before & has signaled that he will veto this bill also, which is why EQCA needs help in getting the word out to the governor that he should sign this bill honoring a true pioneer in the on-going struggle for equality (see the link to the petition above).

You may remember that President Obama honored Harvey Milk last month with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Harvey's nephew Stuart Milk accepted the medal on Harvey's behalf.

So, if you are of a mind, I hope you will take 2 minutes & sign the petition. I live in Florida, but I signed it. You can even put in your own comments when you sign the petition, but--of course, if you do--I hope you will write from your heart & speak as eloquently as you can as to why Harvey Milk deserves this honor.

Dustin Lance Black, who won a Best Screenwriter Oscar for the movie, Milk, testified in May of this year at a state senate committee, explaining why Harvey Milk deserves this honor & how Harvey Milk--as an open, proud gay man--helped bring hope to so many people not just while he was alive, but years after Harvey had died.

It is obvious in this video that Dustin speaks from the heart, and explains how a man he never met and never knew personally helped to save his life...and the lives of countless other LGBTQI people who found inspiration & strength in Harvey Milk's story.

No comments: