LGBTQ activists plan Tuesday afternoon to mark Harvey Milk Day by calling for school and community programs that promote mental health and family acceptance in Latino communities.
Milk was the third openly gay elected official in the nation and the first in California. Tuesday is the 88th anniversary of the slain San Francisco county supervisor’s birth.
“With the gun violence across the nation becoming the norm, it is critical that elected officials and community leaders help ensure school safety through accessible wellness services in neighborhoods and at schools that address youth health and mental health,” said Juan Castillo-Alvarado, director of public education programs for the Latino Equality Alliance, an LGBTQ advocacy organization working to increase support for Latino LGBT people and issues in the Latino and LGBT communities.
The alliance is part of the USC Good Neighbor program, which seeks to establish LGBTQ programming in high schools adjacent to LAC+USC Medical Center.
Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill in 2009 providing that the governor proclaim May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day, coinciding with the anniversary of his birth.
“As one of the first openly gay politicians to hold office in the United States, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is remembered as a hero in the movement for acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” Gov. Jerry Brown wrote in his Harvey Milk Day proclamation.
“His courage in facing a hostile public and his insistence on being treated the same as anyone else contributed greatly to the advancement of this cause. Milk succeeded because he was not just a gay leader but a champion for his district, a brilliant coalition builder and a community organizer who brought the real concerns of ordinary people to city hall. His legacy lives on in the vibrant neighborhoods of San Francisco, which he helped restore to vitality at a time when American cities were in crisis,” Brown said.
He urged “all Californians to remember Harvey Milk for his contributions to the more open, free and honest society that we live in today. We should also remember how he died, at the hands of a fellow supervisor, a killing that Milk himself had anticipated because of the virulent opposition he faced. On this day, let us rededicate ourselves not only to the cause of equal rights for all people, but also to the peaceful and democratic process envisioned by our nation’s founders.”