Celebrations Planned for the Inaugural Harvey Milk Day - NBC Southern California

Celebrations Planned for the Inaugural Harvey Milk Day

Los Angeles parties on Harvey Milk's 80th birthday



    Celebrations Planned for the Inaugural Harvey Milk Day

    Activists will use Saturday's inaugural Harvey Milk Day to increase support for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual individuals through rallies, door-to-door canvassing and a new musical production.

    Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for the 2008 film biography of Milk, is among the scheduled speakers for a 10 a.m. rally at the East Los Angeles Service Center. Rally participants then plan to go door-to-door to seek to gain support for same-sex marriage.

    Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, and West Hollywood City Council members John Duran and Lindsey Horvath will be among the speakers at the Harvey Milk Day of Community Service, set to begin at noon at West Hollywood Park.

    "Harvey Milk was committed to building community to advance equality," said Horvath. "With all he represents to our LGBT community, I knew it was vital that West Hollywood do something very special. What better way to honor Milk's legacy than speaking to the merits of community service and calling upon all of us to give back."

    A march is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. from Father Serra Park, between Union Station and Olvera Street, to the downtown federal building for the "One Single Demand Rally," according to Tanner Efinger, a national board member of Equality Across America, one of the march's organizers.

    A young activist will speak at the rally from a soapbox into a megaphone, like Milk did. The activist will voice the "one single demand," which is: "Equal protection under the law in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states." Said Efinger.

    The marchers will then return to Father Serra Park for "The Coming Out Rally," where celebrity speakers will speak on the importance of coming out, followed by participants taking the stage one by one to announce their name and sexual orientation or gender identity, said Efinger.

    "It was a message of Harvey Milk, and still true today, that citizens who know someone that identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual are statistically less likely to vote against their equality," said Efinger.

    The premiere performance of "The Harvey Milk Schools Project" will begin at 7 p.m. at Fairfax High School. The project created by Black and the Equality California Institute mixes music with Milk's words in an attempt to teach acceptance and equality in schools. Tickets for the performance by the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles are $20.

    Born May 22, 1930 in Woodmere, N.Y., Milk became the third openly gay elected official in the United States and the first in California when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was assassinated in 1978.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill in 2009 that proclaims May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day.

    "Harvey Milk Day memorializes the hope and inspiration Harvey Milk has given and continues to give to so many people across the globe," said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who wrote the bill creating the day.

    "This special day provides us with the unique opportunity to educate Californians about a true American hero who believed that all men and women are created equal and who lived and died by those convictions.

    "This is a significant day not only for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual Californians who continue the fight for equality, but also for all people who believe in liberty and justice for all. Harvey showed us that those simple and often-repeated words are worth fighting for."