Today in the state of California, Harvey Milk Day is officially being recognized. As you will know, Milk was the first openly gay individual elected to public office in America, having served on the Board of Supervisors for the city of San Francisco until his assassination. Milk was also one of the first community organizers elected to office who used his skills to build broad progressive coalitions at the local level which represented workers, immigrants, gays, and other marginalized groups. This is portrayed brilliantly in the biopic Milk, starring Sean Penn. Do yourself a favour and see it if you haven’t yet. Also check out the documentary the Times of Harvey Milk to learn more about this truly great man.
I’m far away from California here in Toronto, but what Harvey Milk stood for goes far beyond geography and is worthy of recognition no matter where you are. Forgetting Milk’s legacy means losing what he fought for, which makes no sense when there’s still more fighting to do.
If you are in California, a list of events commemorating the day can be found here.
USA Today has more on Milk’s legacy here.