SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — In Sacramento, California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared May 22, 2023 to be Harvey Milk Day in California. Harvey Milk, elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, was one of the first openly gay people elected to office anywhere in the United States. Milk was aware of his position and what it meant to people in the LGBTQ+ community. Milk was assassinated on November 27, 1978 by Dan White, who the Harvey Milk Foundationdescribes as "a disgruntled former city Supervisor."
Harvey Milk was born in Woodmere, New York on May 22, 1930 to William and Minerva. The family owned and operated a department store and were well known in their local community.
Milk, who knew he was gay as a child, studied math and history at the New York State College for Teachers, now State University of New York, where he also wrote for the student newspaper. When he graduated in 1951, he enlisted in the US Navy, as both of his parents before him had served. He was forced to resign in 1955 after being officially questioned about his sexual orientation.
After his time in the Navy, Milk returned to New York where he tried several careers, including public schoolteacher, stock analyst, and Broadway production associate, but began gravitating toward politics and public service during the 1960s and 70s.
Milk began advocating for the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco after moving to the city in 1972, putting a spotlight on discriminatory practices and policies not just for his community, but for a number of marginalized communities in the city. With this coalition of support, Milk won his seat on the city's board of supervisors, but his victory would be cut all too short just one year later.
In a press release about his declaration of May 22, 2023, on what would have been Harvey Milk's 93rd birthday, as Harvey Milk Day in California, Governor Gavin Newsom celebrated Milk's determination and spirit, praising the Supervisor's fearless dedication to justice and equality and promising to continue his work.
"We cannot allow the forces of hate to dehumanize people and undermine our progress on hard-won civil rights," said Governor Newsom. "California stands firmly with the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for equality, freedom, and acceptance for all."