May 22, 2011 marks the second year since the official establishment of Harvey Milk Day in California, and what would have been Milk's 81st birthday.
Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, becoming the first openly gay man in the history of the United States to be elected to public office. However, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were shot and killed on November 27 1978 in San Francisco City Hall by a former Board of Supervisors member Dan White.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown said, “The tragedy and its aftermath helped further propel the burgeoning gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Harvey’s life was cut short far too soon, but his legacy of hope, tolerance, and equality lives on.”
As an openly gay Los Angeles City Councilmember, Harvey Milk Day has special significance for Mar Vista resident CD 11 councilman Bill Rosendahl.
Rosendahl told Patch, "Harvey Milk laid a foundation on which to stand for equal rights and it's important to use this day to reflect on that accomplishment. [Harvey Milk Day] also gives us the opportunity to teach the younger generation about a champion in the fight against discrimination, as well as examine the battle that continues today."
Rosendahl said the best way to honor Milk is to "be yourself! Be proud of who you are and always fight for what's fair. "