The late Harvey Bernard Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to significant public office in America, is to be inducted into the California Hall of Fame at the California Museum in a ceremony next week to be performed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the State’s First Lady, Maria Shriver.
Also being inducted on December 1 are twelve others, including filmmaker George Lucas, comedienne/actress Carol Burnett, American football commentator John Madden and author Danielle Steele.
In true Californian style, the stars are expected to be out for the ‘red carpet’ ceremony which gets underway at 5pm on December 1st.
Attending the ceremony will be Stuart Milk, the nephew of Harvey Milk, and Sean Penn who portrayed the San Francisco supervisor (councillor) in the 2009 Academy Award-winning film Milk.
Also expected to attend are State Senator Mark Leno, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, San Diego activist Nicole Murray Ramirez, Milk Foundation director Mike Colby, Milk’s campaign manager Anne Kronenberg and Milk campaign staffer Gwen Craig.
Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in City Hall on November 27, 1978, by Dan White, another supervisor.
The late Mayor Moscone’s children Jonathon and Rebecca will also be present at the ceremony.
Harvey Milk, born in 1930 in Woodmere on Long Island, was the first openly gay person elected to a significant public office in the United States who encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens to live their lives openly, believing that was the only way they could achieve social equality.
After serving in the United States Navy on submarines during the Korean War and a stint as a diving instructor at the Navy’s base in San Diego, Milk moved from New York City to San Francisco and the Castro District in 1972, immediately becoming a community activist. He was voted into office as San Francisco City Supervisor for District 5 (which includes The Castro) in 1977.
In his less-than-a-year in office, Harvey Milk achieved the enactment of California’s first ordinance barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which was then the most progressive law in the nation.
The California Hall of Fame will feature 13 exhibits for each of the inductees.
Harvey Milk’s exhibit will include a time capsule created in 1987 by his friends and, until recently, entombed in a Washington, DC cemetery. Items encased in the urn include a hair cutting a campaign button; an audiocassette dated June 10, 1978, titled Harvey Milk speech in Dallas, his city supervisor letterhead; a rainbow flag; an enveloped letter addressed to Scott Smith; and a film negative of Milk.
Also on display will be his San Francisco City Supervisor badge, a copy of Proposition 6 (also known as the 1978 Briggs Initiative), San Francisco’s anti-discrimination statute, campaign button from his various campaigns, a copy of the New York State College for Teachers yearbook, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously awarded by President Barack Obama on August 12.
■ The California Hall of Fame in Sacramento, with the exhibits of the new inductees, will be open to the public from December 2.
A similar version of this release was posted at UK Gay News.