Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Arnold Inducts Harvey Milk into
CA Museum Hall of Fame

There may not yet be a Harvey Milk Day for the state of California, but today the gay martyr was inducted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver into the Hall of Fame at the state's museum.

From the press release:

Sacramento, CA — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver today released the names of the 2009 inductees to The California Museum’s California Hall of Fame. Pat Splinter, Chair of The California Museum’s California Hall of Fame committee and Museum trustee, announced the names in a video posted on the Museum’s web site CaliforniaMuseum.org. In its fourth year, the California Hall of Fame has continued the tradition of honoring legendary people who embody California’s innovative spirit and have made their mark on history.

The 2009 California Hall of Fame inductees are: entertainer *Carol Burnett*, former Intel CEO *Andrew Grove*, governor and U.S. senator *Hiram Johnson*, decathlete and philanthropist *Rafer Johnson*, industrialist *Henry J. Kaiser*, philanthropist and peace activist *Joan Kroc*, film-maker *George Lucas*, football commentator *John Madden*, gay rights advocate *Harvey Milk*, artist *Fritz Scholder*, author *Danielle Steel*, fitness and bodybuilding pioneer *Joe Weider*, and Air Force* *test pilot General *Chuck Yeager.* [...]

This is a terrific honor for Milk and his legacy. Here are excerpts from the museum site's profile on Milk:

Milk encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens to live their lives openly, believing that was the only way they could achieve social equality. A 2009 White House press release recognized his contributions, stating, “Milk is revered nationally and globally as a pioneer of the LGBT civil rights movement for his exceptional leadership and dedication to equal rights.” [...]

Milk’s promising career ended abruptly on November 27, 1978 when he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in City Hall. Since his death, Milk has become perhaps the most iconic figure of the LGBT rights movement, the subject of books, plays, operas and films, and the namesake of schools and buildings nationwide. In 2009, his nephew accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom on his behalf from President Barack Obama, who commented that Milk’s “message of hope – hope unashamed, hope unafraid” would continue to inspire.

Let's applaud the Governor and First Lady for including Milk in the state's Hall of Fame, and also recommit ourselves to making sure a day of significance is declared every year for Harvey Milk Day. Such a day would go a very long way toward educating Californians of all ages and backgrounds and political parties about his fight for justice and liberation.

[Hat tip: Bill Wilson, longtime SF gay community photographer.]

1 comment:

Jay Davis said...

Michael, thanks so much for posting on the big announcement today and on the Harvey Milk Day bill!

It's not clear if Governor Schwarzenegger is going to veto the Milk Day bill or not, but he is currently calling for people to give him their feedback. The more supporters he hears from, the less likely he is to veto. Some ways to contact him:
-Tweet @schwarzenegger and ask him to pass the bill.
-Call 916-445-2841 and follow the prompts to express support for the Harvey Milk Day bill (SB 572). You won’t have to speak to anyone; all you’ll have to do is press buttons.
-Sign Equality California’s petition at http://www.eqca.org/harveymilkday.

Milk is a huge inspiration for so many people in California and across the nation. I hope the Governor will sign it into law.

Jay Davis, Online Community Director, Equality California