The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, May 22
May 22nd, 2013
Harvey Milk Day: Various locations. Today would be Milk’s 83rd birthday (see below), and in observance of Harvey Milk Day, there are several events taking place this week throughout the country. To lean whether there is an event in your area, you can check out the Harvey Milk Foundation web site.
White House To Recognize “Harvey Milk Champions of Change”: Washington, DC. In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Harvey Milk with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian medal. In obervance of Harvey Milk Day, the White House will honor ten “LGBT state and local elected and appointed officials who have demonstrated a strong commitment to both equality and public service” as “Harvey Milk Champions of Change.” According to the Victory Fund, those ten individuals are:
- Simone Bell – Georgia State Representative, Atlanta, GA
- Angie Buhl O’Donnell – South Dakota State Senator, Sioux Falls, SD
- Karen Clark – Minnesota State Representative, South Minneapolis, MN
- Michael A. Gin – Mayor of Redondo Beach, Redondo Beach, CA
- Kim Coco Iwamoto – Hawaii State Civil Rights Commissioner, Honolulu, HI
- John Laird – California Secretary of Natural Resources, Santa Cruz, CA
- Ricardo Lara – California State Senator, Long Beach, CA
- Kim Painter – Johnson Country Recorder, Iowa City, IA
- Chris Seelbach – Cincinnati City Council Member, Cincinnati, OH
- Pat Steadman – Colorado State Senator, Denver, CO
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Alkmaar, Netherlands; Birmingham, UK; Cambridge/Kitchener/Waterloo, ON; Chicago, IL (Bear Pride); Eilat, Israel; Eskilstuna, Sweden; Melbourne, FL; Pensacola, FL; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Tralee, Ireland; Washington, DC (Black Pride).
Other Events This Weekend: International Mr. Leather, Chicago, IL; Matinee Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV; As One In The Park, London, UK; Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, New Orleans, LA; Great Plains Rodeo, Oklahoma City, OK; Inside Out Toronto Film Festival, Toronto, ON.
Harvey Milk: 1930. Known as the Mayor of Castro Street, Harvey Milk finally succeeded in becoming California’s first (and the nation’s fourth) openly gay non-incumbent candidate to win a political office for two reasons: he refused to hide who he was; and he made it his mission to build alliances with groups that other gay activists thought were impossible to reach. So to those who knew Harvey well weren’t surprised when his 1977 as San Francisco City Supervisor that he was good terms with conservative supervisor Dan White. White, a former cop, was supported by the city’s police union whose leaders were angry over city policies which they considered to be soft on crime and homosexuals. The local media ate it up as the two made joint appearances on local talk shows where they both talked warmly of each other. Harvey began to privately telling friends that he thought White was “educatable,” and that the two might actually be able to work together.
But all that changed when Milk wound up voting against White’s proposal to bar a psychiatric treatment center from opening in White’s district. White retaliated by voting against Milk’s gay rights bill (it passed anyway), and for the next several months, White would not speak to Milk or his aides. Other supervisors noticed that White stopped spending as much time at his office in City Hall, and he was sullen during the weekly board meetings. White abruptly resigned on November 10, 1978. When he had a change of heart a few days later, Mayor George Moscone refused to commit to re-appointing him to the board. On November 27, 1978, White snuck into City Hall and confronted Moscone in his office, and shot him twice in the abdomen, then twice more in the head. He then walked down the hall to Milk’s office. After arguing with Milk, White shot him three times in the chest, once in the back and twice in the head.
Milk’s short political career changed the face of LGBT politics. During the 1978 campaign against the Briggs Amendment which would have required the firing of gay teachers and any school employee who supported gay rights, Milk insisted on aggressively confronting the anti-gay campaign by raising the visibility of the gay community. The campaign against the Briggs Amendment was also a campaign against the closet. He told a crowd during San Franscisco’s Gay Pride that year:
“On this anniversary of Stonewall, I ask my gay sisters and brothers to make the commitment to fight. We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets… We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out. Come out to your parents, your relatives.”
Mark Bingham: 1970. A true hero, Mark Bingham was among the passengers who stormed the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93 after it had been hijacked by Al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001. His personal bravery was well known before that fateful day. His boyfriend of six years, Paul Holm, recalled that Bingham had thwarted two attempted muggings, one at gunpoint. His friends recalled that he proudly showed off the scars he received during a running of the bulls in Pamploma. During the hijacking, Bingham, who was sitting in first class, made a brief call to his mother. She later called him back after learning of the other 9/11 attacks and said the flight was being used on a suicide mission. Bingham has been honored with several others for bringing the aircraft down and preventing a much greater loss of life.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?