Gay rights hero Harvey Milk would have been 87 today
Activists around the world are marking Harvey Milk Day, on what would have been the activist’s 87th birthday.
Milk, the first openly gay politician to be elected in America, was assassinated in November 1978.
The San Francisco politician had united the local gay community and made several attempts to get elected, making it onto the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.
He only held his position for 11 months before being assassinated by a former supervisor Dan White.
Milk’s rise to power and subsequent assassination was a watershed moment for the LGBT rights movement, sparking anger at the homophobic persecution still present in society.
Today, Milk is remembered as an LGBT rights hero. A plaza in San Francisco’s Castro District is dedicated to his memory, known as Harvey Milk Memorial Plaza.
The Human Rights Campaign wrote: “Despite his short time in office, Milk’s contributions and influence the fight for LGBTQ equality live on in the work of activists and allies throughout the U.S. and around the world.
“Milk envisioned a place where all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated equally. HRC, as well as countless other LGBTQ organizations, pro-equality lawmakers and supporters, share that vision and strive every day to make full equality a reality for millions of LGBTQ people.
“During these uncertain times, it is more vital than ever that we, as a community, continue to work tirelessly towards achieving what Milk sacrificed his life for — equality and justice for all.”
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The State of California annually marks Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a statewide day of significance.
The GLBT History Museum in San Francisco will honour the occasion this year by offering free admission to all visitors throughout the day.
The museum includes an exhibit on Milk’s life and death. Among the historical objects on display are the bullhorn Milk used to lead many protest marches and the suit he was wearing at the moment he was assassinated.
Under President Barack Obama the day was marked at the highest level. The festivities were skipped this year as President Donald Trump is on an international trip.
On Harvey Milk Day in 2014, the Postal Service launched a Harvey Milk memorial stamp at a White House ceremony.
The stamp was boycotted by anti-LGBT groups, with the American Family Association rejecting a $10 donation because it was sent in an envelope with a commemorative Harvey Milk stamp on.