Happy Birthday Harvey Milk! Today you would have turned 82. But your life was cut short when you were shot to death at the young age of 48, a year after being elected (as the first openly gay person) to California’s Board of Supervisors.
Harvey Milk is often considered an LBTQ rights activist, which he was. But he was an activist who saw the connections among the struggles of all disenfranchised people. In 2009, President Obama awarded Milk a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, which his openly gay nephew, Stuart Milk, accepted. That same year, Stuart and Harvey Milk campaign manager Anne Kronenberg co-founded the Harvey Milk Foundation, with the support of Desmond Tutu. The Foundation established Harvey Milk Day, on May 22nd, Milk’s birthday.
Also in 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Harvey Milk Day Bill, honoring the fallen hero on his birthday, and inducted Milk in the California Hall of Fame. Part of the bill encourages schools to shape their lessons on May 22nd around “remembering the life of Harvey Milk, recognizing his accomplishments and familiarizing pupils with the contributions he made to this state.”