LGBT leaders visit Capitol to launch Harvey Milk stamp

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – The City Beautiful occupied the Nation’s Capital as several local community leaders traveled to Washington D.C. for the dedication of the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp.

The GLBT Center of Central Florida director Randy Stephens, MBA president Mikael Audebert, Equality Florida’s Gina Leigh Duncan, Watermark publisher Tom Dyer, attorney Ava Doppelt, and USF LGBT Studies Professor David Johnson attended the May 22 ceremony at the White House. Speakers included U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Lewis. (Pictured in the image above, L to R: Stephens, Doppelt, Duncan, Dyer and Audebert.)

Stuart Milk and Anne Kronenberg, co-founders of the Harvey Milk Foundation, recalled the 1978 murder of Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone. Harvey Milk was less than a year into his term as City Supervisor, but he had already become the brave face of the modern-day LGBT rights movement.

“My uncle never sought fame. He never sought to be on a postage stamp,” Stuart Milk said. “He knew his life was in danger. His message was that we must come out… and he was willing to take a bullet for it.”

But Kronenberg got laughs from the 150 in attendance when she said, “He may not have sought to be on a postage stamp, but he would have loved the attention.”

Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, attended Milk’s funeral 37 years ago. “I thought, is this how it ends?” she recalled. “But it really was just the beginning.”

Milk is the first openly gay politician to be honored on a U.S. postage stamp. The 49-cent ‘forever stamp’ is available through the U.S. Postal Service website and features a black and white photograph of Milk taken in front of his Castro Street camera store. His name and the colors of the rainbow flag appear above his picture.

“Today we honor a man who refused to accept anything short of equality,” Power said. “In so doing, Harvey Milk made America more American.”

Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate just last year.

“I am literally here because of the progress Harvey Milk inspired,” she said.

Civil rights icon Lewis noted that, “With this stamp, Harvey Milk will now be present on that little corner of the envelope where the greats of history reside.”

Dyer, who is on the board of the Harvey Milk Foundation, and Doppelt assisted with legal work associated with the stamp.

“For me the stamp is both a reminder of the courage it took to claim equality back in Harvey’s day, and also a celebration of how very far we’ve come since then,” he said.

Duncan agreed. “It’s important to celebrate the vision and the bravery of this amazing activist, who saw this day and was willing to do what it took to get here.”

May 22 would have been Milk’s 84th birthday.

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