Long Beach’s Harvey Milk Park adds more LGBTQ names to Equality Plaza

Harvey Milk Park Long Beach

Jack Castiglione addresses the crowd during his induction ceremony to Equality Plaza at Harvey Milk Park in downtown Long Beach on Oct. 22. Stephanie Loftin, left, nominated Castiglione. Photo: JustinRudd.com

He’s a gay social justice activist who fought police misconduct, and she was a lesbian Paralympic medalist who broke barriers.

Both of them are honored at Harvey Milk Park in downtown Long Beach.

Jack Castiglione and Angela Madsen were among eight LGBTQ+ leaders inducted into the park’s Equality Plaza last month.

Harvey Milk Promenade Park, located at The Promenade and Third Street, was the first park in the nation named after Milk, California’s first elected gay official who was a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ equality.

Equality Plaza was created at the park in 2012 to recognize local leaders in the community who have pushed for equal rights, AIDS research, historic preservation, homelessness, among other  essential issues in the queer community.

“Jack is the real deal,” said Stephanie Loftin, a member of the Harvey Milk Park Equality Plaza Selection Committee and the person who nominated Castiglione to be included on the plaza wall.

In the early 1980s, “He started the hate crimes hotline out of his house and got Long Beach officers to take hate crimes police reports.”

Castiglione was appointed by Police Chief Lawrence Binkley to be the chairman of the Police Chief’s Gay and Lesbian Advisory Committee in 1989 and developed a trusting and productive relationship with the chief.

Eventually, the chief rooted out bad officers and fired 83 of them, largely for misconduct.

The plaza includes a concrete replica of Milk’s famous soapbox that he stood on to rally crowds, and a 20-foot pole flying the updated Pride flag that’s inclusive of queer people of color and transgender people.

“These honorees will join others on the Equality Plaza Wall to be remembered throughout history for their incredible work in our LGBTQ+ community,” Deb Kahookele, co-chair of the equality plaza selection committee, said at the Oct. 22 induction ceremony.

Madsen, 60, was a lesbian Paralympic bronze medalist who competed in rowing and track and field. She died in June 2020 while attempting a row solo from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

Here are the six other honorees:

  • Robert Cano, founding member of Long Beach Q Film Festival
  • Brad Duerre and Brad Miyasato, community volunteers
  • Mayor Robert Garcia
  • Patricia Lamis, lesbian and senior activist
  • Tonya Martin, Long Beach Pride volunteer

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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