Harvey Milk Day is a global celebration of the life and message of the 1970’s pioneering activist who gave his voice to the growing worldwide chorus for the recognition of rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community.
Harvey Milk’s approach to the issues of his time influenced not only his immediate locale of San Francisco, but also impacted the general fight nationwide for civil liberties for LGBT persons in neighborhoods and communities. As one of the first openly gay persons elected to public office, Milk gave credence to the gay rights cause at a crucial time when the country was considering the recognition of broader rights for the LGBT community on state and federal levels.
Milk firmly believed that acceptance of the LGBT community could be achieved through education and visibility in the community. He embraced the idea that the more the public saw how integrated members of the LGBT community were in their daily roles as doctors, firemen, nurse, or teachers, , the more acceptance of equality for the gay community. He envisioned a world of hope, where people freely dreamed of a better tomorrow for themselves and their loved ones.
President Obama shares a similar vision of equality and hope for all Americans. His administration has overseen the progress on important issues affecting the LGBT community such as repealing the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law (thereby allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the armed forces), signing into law the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Prevention Act, and ceasing enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). President Obama is also the first sitting president in the history of the United States to publicly endorse marriage equality for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation.
It is with these accomplishments in mind that the president stands with the LGBT community on Harvey Milk Day., While much has been done to furthering the cause of equality, there is still much to do in the fight for equal rights for all Americans.