Harvey Milk was the first LGBTQ elected public servant in California history. He spent less than a year in office, but left a legacy that helped change hearts and minds.
Milk, who was a San Francisco Supervisor, was a pioneer for equality and civil rights for the LGBTQ community and encouraged people to come out of the closet. He believed visibility of LGBTQ people was vital for the community’s survival.
Today is the 40th anniversary of Milk’s murder. Here’s a comprehensive story we posted last year on the assassination anniversary.
One of Milk’s greatest legacies as supervisor was an ordinance that banned sexual orientation discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. It was one of the nation’s strongest gay-rights measures. It was signed into law March 21, 1978.
Milk also was a strong advocate for affordable housing, public transportation, and daycare centers for working mothers.
Presidential Medal of Freedom
In 2009, Milk’s birthday, May 22, was officially recognized in California as Harvey Milk Day.
That same year, Milk also was honored with the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by Barack Obama.
Phillip Zonkel can be reached at 562-294-5996 or at [email protected].