Eighty-two years ago today, a legend of gay rights and politics was born. Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. His short time in office during the 1970s was groundbreaking, and inspiring to his peers and the many people who came after him. All across California and around the world, people celebrate the life of the late gay political icon.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose district is in San Francisco, said in a statement Tuesday that Milk's work has endured the test of time.
"His legacy lives on in you," she said. "Harvey gave us a green light and so many of you continue his work. Today that means our continued fight to end workplace discrimination, keep families and loving couples together, ensure the freedom to marry and repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. Harvey Milk's leadership for his community was relentless. He changed the course of history by always pushing for progress and for the American ideal of equality--our heritage and our hope. We too must be relentless in our efforts to ensure the fundamental rights of all Americans."
The California Democratic Party released a statement saying, "34 years following Milk’s assassination, his message of hope continues to inspire a global movement committed to equality for millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people eager to participate in their nation’s political, social, legal and civic institutions."
Here are a few events taking place to honor the late Harvey Milk.
- San Diego will unveil a street named in honor of the LGBT civil rights leader at 5 p.m. at the corner of Harvey Milk Street (Blaine Ave.) and Centre Street. The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus & San Diego Women’s Chorus will sing the national anthem. Stuart Milk, the nephew of Harvey Milk, and several others will speak at the event.
- Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, activist Cleve Jones, and Milk's speechwriter Frank Robinson will attend a special screening of Milk at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. Proceeds from the screening will benefit the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.
- The Trevor Project celebrated the one-year anniversary of its call center housed in Harvey Milk's historic Castro Camera shop.
- Cities in the surrounding Palm Springs, Calif., area approved proclamations during the Coachella Valley's first Harvey Milk Diverisity Breakfast on Monday.
- The City of West Hollywood will sponsor "Got Milk," a panel discussion moderated Tony Valenzuela, Executive Director of Lambda Literary Foundation, followed by a dessert reception.
- The NoH8 Campaign will set up a mobile studio at the Hartford Public Library in Hartford, Conn., from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.