LGBT History Month 2019 – Activism

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County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Darlington ARQ, Durham Rainbow Alliance and Darlington Borough Council are working in collaboration to raise awareness and support for the LGBT Community.  February is LGBT History month and this year’s theme is around peace, reconciliation and activism. Each week in February CDDFRS, Darlington ARQ, Durham Rainbow Alliance and DBC will be showcasing particular events and milestones in the LGBT history around this year’s theme.

This week’s publication is from Darlington ARQ and concerns the Activism part of this year’s theme:

Anyone got Milk – Who is Harvey Milk and why is he an important figure in LGBT Activism?

Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

In 1972, Milk moved from New York City to the Castro District of San Francisco amid a migration of gay and bisexual men. He took advantage of the growing political and economic power of the neighbourhood to promote his interests and unsuccessfully ran three times for political office. Milk’s theatrical campaigns earned him increasing popularity, and in 1977 he won a seat as a city supervisor. His election was made possible by a key component of a shift in San Francisco politics.

Why is he an important figure in Activism?  Milk served almost eleven months in office, during which he sponsored a bill banning discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment on the basis of sexual orientation. The Supervisors passed the bill by a vote of 11-1 and was signed into law by Mayor Moscone.

During the time Milk lived in California, a conservative state senator named John Briggs was pushing a statewide ballot measure, Proposition 6, to ban gay and lesbian teachers. Harvey Milk led the fight against the proposition, debating Briggs around the state; with proposition 6 being quashed at the ballot.  Just one example of his inspirational work.

Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community.  In 2002, Milk was called “the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States”.  Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.”  Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

He was and continues to be an inspirational figure in LGBT History and Culture; a match that lit the fuse of the LGBT movement leading us to where we are now.

For more information on the LGBT History month go to www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk

 Why not show your support and wear a badge?

The overall aim of the LGBT History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. This is done through:

  • Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT”) people, their history, lives and their experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community;
  • Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBT community;
  • Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT communities; and
  • Promoting the welfare of LGBT people, by ensuring that the education system recognises and enables LGBT people to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives, thus benefiting society as a whole.

If you would like to find out more about the services offered by Darlington ARQ, contact ARQ on 01388 229516 or www.darlingtonarq.com

For more information about Durham Rainbow Alliance contact 07402025609 or email  www.admin@durhamprideuk.org

For more information on CDDFRS Safe and Wellbeing services contact 0845 2234 221 or #cfsequires@ddfire.gov.uk

For more information on Darlington Borough Council services contact www.darlington.gov.uk or customerservices@darlington.gov.uk 

This is the link for the resources for educators/ schools:   http://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/for-educators/

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