Mojo Monday ~ Harvey Milk Day

In honor of Harvey Milk Day – May 22nd

Harvey Milk was born on May 22, 1930. He was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the US, when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.   Sadly, Harvey Milk and the San Francisco mayor, George Moscone, were shot and killed by Dan White, a disgruntled former supervisor, at city hall in November 1978. 

Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Barack Obama.   Following that honor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, as governor of California, signed a law setting aside May 22nd as Harvey Milk day in California.  May 22nd coincided with Milk’s birthday.   Milk is only the second Californian, after naturalist John Muir, to receive the honor. 

While it will not be a state holiday, schools will be encouraged to hold lessons “remembering the life of Harvey Milk, recognizing his accomplishments and familiarizing pupils with the contributions he made to this state”.

This video features a wonderful speech known as The Hope speech that he made after being elected into office in 1977.

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy Mural

Harvey Milk’s legacy continues on in many ways.  One example is a school called the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy in San Francisco.  It is a small alternative school in the Castro.  The school’s mission is to empower student learning by teaching tolerance and non-violence, celebrating our diversity, achieving academic excellence and fostering strong family-school-community connections. The original campus housed Douglass Elementary school until the early 1950’s.  On June 25, 1996, San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education voted to rename Douglass School to Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.  

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy Mural

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