Statement of CDP LGBT Caucus Co-Chairs Clark Williams and Pat Washington, PhD, Celebrating Harvey Milk Day

On May 22, throughout California and across the nation, LGBT community members and their allies will be honoring the continuing legacy of Gay Human Rights pioneer Harvey Milk.

Posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009, Milk is remembered not only as California’s first openly-gay man elected to public office but also as a compelling messenger of hope who continues to inspire millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Americans eager to participate in our nation’s political, social and civic institutions.

Shortly before his assassination in 1978, Harvey Milk said, "… you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up. And if you help elect … more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone."

On Harvey Milk's birthday, we urge all Californians to celebrate the life of this pioneer and consummate coalition-builder by continuing to fight for full LGBT equality and equal rights for all who are disenfranchised.

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