Two California cities are paying tribute to Harvey Milk with unique monuments on what would have been the slain gay rights leader's 82nd birthday.
In San Diego, residents and city authorities will be on hand to unveil "Harvey Milk Street" at an evening ceremony, according to San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. Earlier this month, The Los Angeles Times reported that San Diego City Council voted 8-0 Tuesday to rename the street, previously called Blaine Street. Appropriately enough, that street leads to the city's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Center in Hillcrest, which has a sizable gay population.
Further north, in Long Beach, Calif., a groundbreaking ceremony for Harvey Milk Promenade Park will also be held Tuesday. Reportedly the first such site to be named for Milk, the park will include new landscaping, seating, lighting, enhanced paving and public art, including a replica of Milk's famous soapbox, and an area dedicated to honoring Long Beach area lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) leaders, according to the Associated Press.
Though historians may recall that Milk is predominately associated with his work in San Francisco, where he became one of the first openly gay people elected to public office in a major American city as a county supervisor, San Diego authorities say that the activist was first stationed in the southern California city while he was in the U.S. Navy.
"I believe this is an appropriate way to honor Harvey Milk’s tremendous contributions," Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents Hillcrest and is one of the council's two openly gay members, told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News earlier this month. "This is the culmination of years of work by many San Diegans and will ensure the civil rights leader is never forgotten in our city."
Added Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, "Harvey Milk was a trailblazer for the LGBT community who battled against discrimination and unbelievable odds. I'm proud Long Beach is the first city in the country to honor Harvey Milk by dedicating a park in his name."
Among those to pay tribute to Milk on May 22 -- which was designated in 2009 as "Harvey Milk Day" -- was Milk's nephew Stuart. "Today is the celebration not of a people or community or nation being better than another, but a celebration of the knowledge that we are so much less when we do not embrace, without qualification, all members of our unique and varied humanity," he wrote in a statement.
My uncle’s legacy has many monuments, all those openly LGBT elected officials, all those who live an authentic and open life, all those strong allies like our president in the United States that fight to keep us embraced, the hope givers who help to full fill our potential of equality."