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San Diego leaders commemorate Harvey Milk Day in Hillcrest

Signs on the streets across the nation honor the memory of gay rights activist Harvey Milk – but San Diego had the first one.

In 2012, San Diego City Council members unanimously voted to rename a two-block Harvey Milk Street in Hillcrest in honor of the first openly gay man to be elected to a public office in California.

On Sunday, about a dozen people gathered along this street to celebrate Harvey Milk Day, which takes place on May 22, Milk’s birthday.

Several city officials walked along the street, placing red, white and blue wreaths over four of its signs. Milk would have been 92 years old this year if he had not been assassinated in 1978 along with then-San Francisco Mayor George Moscone by a political opponent. He was 48 years old.

“To us, Harvey Milk is our Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. – he’s our American hero,” said Nicole Murray Ramirez, a longtime gay rights activist and member of her .

Ramirez and other city officials, including then-City Councilman Todd Gloria, teamed up to honor Milk with a street sign – an action designed to show young LGBTQs that they too could be elected to higher positions.

Gloria, now mayor of San Diego, echoed those sentiments on Sunday. Gloria is the first openly gay elected mayor of the city.

“There is a saying that if you have not seen it, you can not be,” said Gloria. “Because Harvey existed, because the people of San Francisco elected him to the Board of Supervisors, it created an opportunity for all of us to understand that we can also serve in an elected office.”

Although Milk’s political career took shape in San Francisco, he stayed in San Diego as a Navy diving instructor in 1954. Milk received less than honorary discharge because he was gay. In 2016, a 747-foot Navy fuel tanker was named after the Milk. The ship was christened and launched last year.

Several speakers at Sunday’s event noted that while much progress has been made in ensuring equal rights for the LGBTQ community, there is still more work to be done. Only 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws that protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public housing. And more than a quarter of hate crimes committed in San Diego in 2021 were motivated by prejudice against one’s sexual orientation.

“We know there is a long way to go, but we must always remember the shoulders we stand on, and one of them is Harvey Milk,” Ramirez said.

The weekend event was not the only recognition of Milk’s contributions by San Diego leaders. Assembly member Chris Ward, who is also openly gay, drafted a state resolution to celebrate May 22, 2022, as Harvey Milk Day.

“We are sharing this day with the community, because we are not going to forget where we came from, and that will lead us to be resilient, vigilant and make sure we protect the rights of others as well as our own,” Ward said. .

The resolution was adopted on Thursday.

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San Diego leaders commemorate Harvey Milk Day in Hillcrest Source link San Diego leaders commemorate Harvey Milk Day in Hillcrest

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