“It's not my victory, it's yours and yours and yours. If a gay can win, it means there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We've given them hope.”
Harvey Bernard Milk (1930-1978) was the first openly gay US-American politician elected to public office in California and "the most famous and most significant open LGBT offical ever elected in the United States" (via). Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 (via). This year, he will be featured on a stamp (via) which will be released today. The Postal Service said that his achievements "gave hope and confidence to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the United States and elsewhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination" (via).
Harvey Milk Day is celebrated around the anniversary of Milk's birthday, i.e. 22 May, to promote human equality. "Senate Bill 572" was passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 to designate 22 May as "Harvey Milk Day" (via). It is recognised as "a day of special significance for public schools" in California (via). The group "Save California" warns parents to protect their children from "Harvey Milk Gay Day", from the "homosexual brainwashing" (via), and to "rescue" them by boycotting the day that is "indoctrinating children in classrooms and assemblies" (via).
“The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone. So if there is a message I have to give, it is that if I've found one overriding thing about my personal election, it's the fact that if a gay person can be elected, it's a green light. And you and you and you, you have to give people hope....”
On 27 November 1978 - after ten months in office - Milk was shot dead (via).
“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”
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