FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 1, 2008
Leno Contact: Shannan Velayas, (916) 319-2013
EQCA Contact: Ali Bay, (916) 284-9187
Assemblymember Leno & EQCA to Introduce Bill Declaring 'Harvey Milk Day' in California
Non-fiscal holiday will honor legacy of LGBT civil rights pioneer who famously declared, "You Gotta Give 'em Hope!"
SAN FRANCISCO—Flanked by Harvey Milk's friends and associates and those inspired by his life and work, Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Equality California (EQCA) announced plans today to introduce a measure that would formally recognize the efforts of civil rights pioneer, Harvey Milk. The bill would establish a non-fiscal state holiday in his name on the anniversary of his birth, May 22.
"Harvey Milk was a true American hero," said Assemblymember Leno. "He gave hope to a generation of gay and lesbian individuals whose basic humanity and freedom had been denied and dishonored. His history is our history, and a day in his honor will preserve his legacy for generations to come. 'Harvey Milk Day' will provide a forum to raise public awareness of Milk's work to extend basic human rights to all people and demonstrate that each one of us possesses the ability to create extraordinary change in our communities, our country and the world," stated Leno.
"Harvey Milk knowingly put his safety at risk and ultimately gave his life because he believed that living as an openly gay man would help achieve true equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. "His leadership transformed public consciousness and paved the way for the achievements we have realized in the past 30 years. A state holiday honoring Milk's legacy will forever remind us of what the courage of one person can accomplish and of the critical work that still lies ahead to create a world where everyone can live openly and honestly."
The measure will proclaim May 22nd 'Harvey Milk Day' and add it to the list of state holidays, although it will be crafted in a way so as not to generate additional state costs or increase the number of paid state holidays.
Harvey Milk was born on May 22, 1930 and settled in the Castro district of San Francisco in 1972 where he and his partner opened a camera store. His belief that all people should be treated with respect paved the way of the populist movement he pioneered for LGBT rights, creating a legacy that inspires the LGBT community to this day. In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay elected official of any large city in the United States, and only the third openly gay elected official in the nation. Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in San Francisco on November 27, 1978.
Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. Please visit our website at www.eqca.org.