Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Harvey Milk Day of Action May 22

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 13, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: EAA, Equality Across America, Harvey Milk Day, New York City, NYC

On May 22, LGBT people all around the nation and the world will be marking the birthday of Harvey Milk, one of the first out gay politicians to be elected to public office in the United States.harvey_milk_pride-harvey_20milk.jpg

(Not the first, but the third.)

Nationally, thousands of activists, allies and community members are organizing local actions to demand full federal equality for all on Harvey Milk Day and the International Week Against Homophobia.

In New York City, local grassroots activists are planning a march from the Manhattan LGBT Center to City Hall, starting at noon.

Though organizers are not certain how many will show up, they expect at least few hundred.

Awesome. Well, I will be one of those hundreds. I've been asked to speak, and I accepted gladly. There's a radical flavor to this that I'm really digging. Come out, come out, wherever you are.

Harvey, wherever you are, we love you.

More on the march, and Harvey Milk on YouTube after the jump.

The march begins at the LGBT Center in Manhattan at noon, with rallies along the way, including Union Square, St. Vincent's Hospital, Army Recruiting Center, Marriage Bureau and finally ending at City Hall.

There will be speakers on various key topics in the fight for rights. I'll be speaking about trans equality, and there will be David Dasrath on safety in schools, Jeanette Coleman, recently discharged under DADT, Adam Frankel on issues facing youth, and Housing Works will have a speaker on HIV/AIDS and the Homeless.

The organizers are interested in promoting activism in health care and AIDS, youth homelessness, hate crimes and anti-trans violence, police brutality, workplace discrimination, DADT repeal, marriage equality, immigrant rights and other important issues.

The last NYC organizing meeting is coming up this Tuesday 6pm at the LGBT Commmunity Center, 208 W. 13th street (btw 7th and 8th Ave.) They have a wish list, in case you are interested in helping that way.

Here's what the organizers are saying.

Why Harvey Milk Day? Why Action?

Over 200,00 people marched on October 10th for full LGBT equality which invigorated a national movement. In the past few weeks over 600 people took part in Equality Across America conferences in Chicago and Boston to discuss and strategize the next steps for our movement and have begun to build grassroots networks and relationships to fight for full federal equality.

Equality Across America has called for nationwide day of action for LGBT equality on Harvey Milk's Birthday (May 22nd) and the International Week Against Homophobia. As long as the federal government continues to deny us equal rights we need to build a national fight to demand those equal rights. If we stand, protest and speak together across the country we can begin to put real pressure on our government.

Wearing red t-shirts and carrying signs and fliers, the march aims to rally in additional supporters, onlookers and tourists for a large and vibrant final action of the day, a demonstration at City Hall.

The Harvey Milk Day Coalition has a simple and non-negotiable mission: FULL FEDERAL EQUALITY.

Here's his famous "Hope" speech

Here's the trailer from the awesome film "The Times of Harvey Milk."

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Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 13, 2010 4:42 PM

Great to hear you're involved.

Alas, Wikipedia fails again. Harvey was not the third, but the fourth out gay person elected to public office.

The third was Allan Spear who, inspired by Elaine Noble in Massachusetts, came out in 1974 in the middle of his first term in the Minnesota State Senate, and was reelected as an openly gay candidate in 1976, a year before Harvey was elected to the SF Board of Supervisors.

I believe Spear still holds the record, so far, for serving the longest in public office as an out person, given that Spear served 26 of his 28 years in the senate "out" and Barney Frank, tho he has more years total, did not come out until 23 years ago.

Spear served eight of those years as the senate's openly gay president, beginning in 1992. He said his "proudest legislative achievement," after 20 years of trying, was getting passage in 1993 of Minnesota's Human Rights Act, guaranteeing protection from discrimination in education, employment, and housing...apparently the first such state law to include transgender people.
He finally did it by gaining the support of the leader of the Senate Republicans, a Lutheran minister, and 10 other Republicans.

Spear passed in 2008, survived by his longtime partner Junjiro Tsuji.

Thanks for your interesting history lesson. We really have so many people to be thankful for, including you.

Minnesota's Karen Clark was first elected to its House as an open Lesbian in 1980, and was the first out gay person in that body. She is still serving there today.

BTW, having already told you about my mother's birthday being May 1st, Jillian, this article gives me the chance to tell you about my father's birthday. It was May 22nd.

Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | May 14, 2010 2:29 AM

Thank you, Rory. Sounds like the title for "longest serving" goes to Karen, and Brava for her. Politics has burned more than one person out pretty quickly, particularly members of our community who frequently get beaten down by the many constantly criticizing them for not, in their opinion, doing enough fast enough. That was the main reason the very gifted Elaine Noble dropped out of elective politics so early.

A. J. Lopp | May 14, 2010 11:21 AM

I'm just glad that the mis-info about "Harvey Milk was the first openly-gay candidate elected in the US" is getting corrected. Thank you, Jillian, and all the other commentators who wrote in. This pseudo-fact was a product of the Hollywood hype machine surrounding the movie "Milk" (no reason to attack that movie in particular, since Hollywood hypes everything!), and getting the real facts out into the world helps to renew my faith that Truth is stronger than Hollywood publicists or the political spin-doctors who continually practice "the Big Lie".

I too, was annoyed about the re-writing of history when Milk (the movie) came out, A.J.. But I'm afraid I can't blame Hollywood PR types for that. I've seen too many examples of people claiming an event or organization as the 'first ever' GLBT something, completely ignoring what came before. I attribute it to a combination of ignorance of our history and laziness. They hear about something from a long time ago and assume it's the first. We have virtually no institutional memory as a community.

I was amazed to find out she was still serving. I remember Elaine talking about how gay people throughout the country would call her, and expect her to solve their problems (governmental or not), not understanding that if they weren't her constituents that she couldn't help. I can see how that would bring you down. So it makes Karen's accomplishment all the more impressive.

I'm not sure why she hasn't achieved the same notice as Elaine, Harvey, and Allan. Now that we're strolling down memory lane, whatever happened to Harry Brit?

Spring Super | May 14, 2010 2:17 PM

Looking forward to seeing you all there!! Solidarity.

Eddie Jones | May 14, 2010 2:37 PM

Thanks so much for helping spread the word about this great event. It does have a radical feel, but also just a simple message: Equal Rights for All.

Thanks for helping us spread the word and looking forward to hearing you speak next weekend!