Sunday, May 22, 2011

Celebrate Harvey Milk Day

May 22nd is the second annual celebration of Harvey Milk Day. For those who still may not know, Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected into public office in California when he was appointed the position in 1978. Harvey Milk fought for a civil rights law that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in San Francisco, where Milk held office. Milk also fought against the Briggs Initiative, a proposition that required the firing of gay teachers & teachers who supported gay rights. Milk campaigned long & hard against the proposition & the proposition didn't gain enough votes.

On November 27, 1978, Harvey Milk & San Francisco Mayor George Moscone was shot & killed by former Supervisor Dan White. Milk only served as a supervisor for eleven months & he accomplished so much in that short period of time that benefited the LGBT community. Without Milk's tireless campaign against the Briggs Initiative, the proposition may have gone into effect & if a state like California was signing anti-gay laws into effect, then it could have easily spread out the whole U.S. This is all rhetorical, but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if he was still around. The LGBT community definitely needed a leader during the early years of AIDS/HIV. Fighting against Proposition 8 would have been Milk's main objective in 2008. Maybe Milk would have moved onto bigger things, like becoming a Representative for California, fighting against policies like Don't Ask Don't Tell in the House. All I know is that he left too soon & there is still work to be done. That is the purpose of Harvey Milk Day: to remember what one man did in a short period of time; what can you do in order to carry on the fight?

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