On May 22, 2012 a large crowd gathered at the corner of Center Street and what was formerly known as Blaine Ave., in San Diego, for the unveiling of the nation's first Harvey Milk Street, named for the first openly gay man ever elected to public office in the United States.
In a speech, longtime LGBT-rights activist and city commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez said:
This day has been a long time in the making. For over eight years community leaders have tried to name a street in honor of Harvey Milk. We have had many roadblocks over the years in trying to honor his legacy. When Mr. Milk stood for up equality, he did so for all people, not just the LGBT community, and he did this at a time when the government or family members could have a person committed to a mental hospital just because they were gay or lesbian. Now look how far we have come, when the two Christian churches on this block do not agree with the LGBT lifestyle, yet neither opposed changing the name of the street. For that we should give them a round of applause.
Murray further said, "Though many cities can lay claim to Harvey Milk, it is so appropriate as a military town [that] we honor him where he served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy."
During an uplifting address openly gay San Diego city councilman Todd Gloria said, "It was Harvey Milk that paved the way for openly LGBT elected officials to serve the people."
Gloria, along with openly gay San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio and council president Tony Young, led the San Diego City Council to an 8-0 vote in favor of changing the street name.
The most reflective speech of the day was given by Harvey Milk's nephew, Stuart Milk, who said:
My uncle received many deaths threats and hate mail during his campaign and during his time in office. He always knew deep down he would take a bullet in the head. He was prepared for this, because he knew his legacy would live on. My uncle has become an LGBT role model and a source of inspiration not only in the United States, [but] from Italy to Istanbul. I received an email today from Sydney, Australia, where they flew a banner in honor of Harvey's memory.
Milk also went on to say, "We can never go back to a time when neighbors feared neighbors like they did my family in war-torn Europe." He also acknowledged the possibility of a Navy ship being named after his late uncle. He said, "My grandparents, who both served in the U.S. military during World War II, would be so proud of Harvey and this moment."
In an interview, California assemblyman Nathan Fletcher said, "San Diego has always been a leader on equality issues. The people of San Diego should be proud to honor a pioneer like the late Harvey Milk."
Harvey Milk was assassinated November 27, 1978. If he were alive today, he would have been 82 years old.
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