This is Harvey Milk's birthday, and a state government (California) has made it a holiday.
Public schools throughout California will be encouraged to conduct lessons “remembering the life of Harvey Milk, recognizing his accomplishments and familiarizing pupils with contributions he made.” Harvey is only the second Californian to receive this honor. (Conservationist John Muir was the first, and he's since got his picture on the CA quarter.)
The historical contributions of gay folks are often omitted from education. Silence and shame have prevented or obscured the LGBT identity of many historical figures.
Harvey Milk, whose motto was “come out, come out, wherever you are” (along with "I'm here to recruit you!"), is quite appropriate as the first LGBT figure to be officially recognized with a day of significance for championing gay rights.
Seeing a gay person celebrated should provide a boost to all of us, and for LGBT folks considering suicide, it may even provide a lifeline. Visiblity is critical for showing that LGBT issues are simply human issues.
UPDATE: If you took action on Monday's blog, be proud! It worked! We won! The Department of Energy released the following statement:
"Some of Professor Katz's controversial writings have become a distraction from the critical work of addressing the oil spill. Professor Katz will no longer be involved in the Department's efforts."
Thank you for helping us make this happen. It's easy to feel like online activism doesn't make a difference, and here is literal evidence that it, in fact, really does!