San Diegans plan Harvey Milk Day festivities
Events include a breakfast, protest and canvassing
Published Thursday, 20-May-2010 in issue 1169
San Diegans have planned an array of festivities this Friday and Saturday to celebrate the first annual Harvey Milk Day, May 22.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. In 1977, he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, a position he used to encourage GLBT people to come out of the closet and fight for GLBT rights. But after less than a year in office, San Francisco Supervisor Dan White shot and killed Milk, along with then San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.
Last October, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Sen. Mark Leno’s bill (after vetoing it a year earlier) making May 22 (Milk’s birthday), a state day of recognition. Harvey Milk Day festivities in San Diego will include a breakfast, protest, concert, dancing and more, starting on Friday, when the Milk Diversity Breakfast Committee will host the second annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront from 7:30-9 a.m.
Speakers at the breakfast include human rights activist Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, an outspoken critic of an anti-homosexual bill being proposed in his country, and Ramona elementary school student Natalie Jones, who caused a stir at Mt. Woodson Elementary School by doing a class presentation on Milk.
“The intent of the Harvey Milk Diversity breakfast is not only to honor the memory of this American hero but also to strengthen coalitions among the many diverse social justice groups in San Diego that work toward equality,” said Robert Gleason, who serves on the breakfast’s organizing committee.
Proceeds from the event will benefit The Center.
For more information, call 619-692-2077, ext. 204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Saturday, May 22, from 12-5 p.m., the San Diego branch of Equality California (EQCA) will be canvassing door-to-door asking people to support same-sex marriage. The event kicks off at the EQCA San Diego branch office at 4506 30th St. in North Park.
“When we go and talk to people about why same-sex couples deserve to marry the person that they love and share about why we care individually about it and engage in conversation, we are following what Harvey Milk saw as so important to winning our rights, which was to create dialogue and understanding,” EQCA Marriage Director Marc Solomon.
Also on Saturday, at 2 p.m., the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) will join activists in 25 other cities across the country for a “National Day of Action” to demand equal rights for all GLBT people and to specifically protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy that bans military servicemembers from serving openly as gay or lesbian, at the intersection of 3rd and Orange streets in Coronado. The event is a collaborated between SAME and Equality Across America, a recently emerged national GLBT network organization.
“The first Harvey Milk Day deserves to be commemorated, and what better day to do it than on a day that celebrates someone who was willing to be out and proud,” said SAME member Zakiya Khabir.
For more information about the protest in Coronado, visit www.samealliance.com.
At 7 p.m., the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (SDSPI) will host the Harvey Milk Legacy Concert at the San Diego LGBT Community Center (3909 Centre St. in Hillcrest). The event features the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, the San Diego Women’s Chorus, In aChord, the New Youth Chorus and more. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Center’s youth services programs.
“Harvey Milk gave hope to people that they could be accepted by society at large by just being who they are. The sisters believe it’s part of our core mission. That if we can go out and be sisters and be accepted by people at large, then you’re free to go out and be who you are and not worry about what people think or what they’re going to do to you,” said SDSPI Board Chair Sister Iona Dubble-Wyde. “So this concert is to celebrate that.”
For more information about the legacy concert, visit www.sdsisters.org.
Finally, at 9 p.m. (Saturday, May 22), Rich’s (1051 University Ave. in Hillcrest) will host a party in honor of Milk. Councilmembers Todd Gloria and Carl DeMaio and former deputy mayor Toni Atkins will cut a special birthday cake at 11 p.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit the newly created Harvey Milk Foundation.
For more information about Rich’s Harvey Milk Day event, visit www.richssandiego.com.