“It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.” – Harvey Milk
The immortal words of Harvey Milk from 1973, still echo in a clarion call for equality for the civil rights of the LGBT community today. We may have thought that we have come a long way from Stonewall, but as Californian’s have learned in painful reminders of Proposition 8: Civil rights won, CAN be civil rights undone.
Harvey Milk’s gift to the Gay and Lesbian community was not only in raising awareness that “gay” was beautiful and natural, but proposed the radical notion that we shouldn’t live closeted away, nor to pretend we were anything other than what we were. He gave Pride to the community to fight for their rights within the very system that was oppressing them, a very risky and controversial move at a time when Televangelists held the ear of much of the nation.
His legacy reached far beyond rallying for gay and lesbian equality, and herein laid the foundation for championing Human Rights across the board within San Francisco. He championed the elderly, the poor, and anyone considered underserved. Harvey understood that raising one group of people, raises the bar and humanity of everyone.
By the tireless efforts of Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, along with Anne Kronenberg, Harvey Milk Day finally became recognized. It was with great honor that Harvey Milk Day came to be memorialized on May 22nd, 2009, and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
G.R.A.C.E. (Gay Rights Advocates for Change and Equality) based in Santa Maria is a grassroots activist group that operates with the same vision as Harvey Milk. So, it stands to reason, they have taken the lead in our area to host “Harvey Milk Day” Celebration the past 2 years.
This year, Harvey Milk Day will be held at Waller Park in Santa Maria on Saturday May 19th, from 11am – 4pm. It is an all ages, all inclusive event with children’s activities, and booths for vendors and organizations that are LGBT or LGBT supportive. There will also be a BBQ and live DJ. The event is Free to the public and is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to mix, mingle and meet someone new!
If you would like to volunteer for this fantastic event, please contact Robert Hubbard at (805) 478-0762 to attend a meeting. This is a great opportunity for youth as well as adults to be involved in building and raising awareness in their own community. GALA will also have a booth at the event where volunteers are welcomed. For volunteer opportunity information with the GALA booth, please contact Adaire at (805) 212-4909. Waller County Park is located at the south end of Santa Maria just north of Skyway Drive. From the Orcutt Expressway you may enter the park via Goodwin Road, or by turning onto Waller Lane, and immediately onto Frontage Road.