Editors' Note: Guest blogger Stuart Milk is the out nephew of slain civil rights hero Harvey Milk.
This month I had the privilege to meet and talk with President Obama who bestowed the nation's highest honor upon my uncle for his enduring "message of hope - hope unashamed, hope unafraid" as the President stated in his public comments.
Yesterday I was thrilled by the announcement that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver will induct my uncle into the California Hall of Fame for his contributions to California's history and the civil rights of LGBT people.
I am hopeful that Gov. Schwarzenegger will also take the time to meet with me along with others whose lives are touched by Harvey Milk, and hear why it's so important for him to sign the Harvey Milk Day bill into law.
The Hall of Fame is an important symbol that truly needs to be backed up by an annual day offering the opportunity for education and celebration of the diversity that makes California great. However, anti-LGBT activists are busy trying to squash this legislation and erase my uncle's legacy from history. They and their cohorts have been flooding the Governor's office with call after call demanding a second veto.
And now the California Secretary of Education has joined them, recently penning a letter stating:
"As you know, the governor vetoed a substantially similar bill last year. The veto message stated that Harvey Milk's contributions should continue to be recognized at the local level by those who were most impacted by his contributions. Since this bill is nearly identical, the veto message remains applicable."
But things have changed since last year's devastating veto, and the veto message is even less applicable now than then. Since that time, the Governor has shown signs that he's open to listening more on this issue. In January I was deeply honored to accept an award from the Governor on behalf of my uncle to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), California's principal civil rights non-discrimination law.
Just yesterday, the Governor made a tell-tale move on his Twitter, posting: "Some interesting bills coming down. Give me your thoughts on the water package, Harvey Milk Day, and the prison reform bills."
For those of you Tweeters out there, please respond @Schwarzenegger and let him know that Milk matters! EQCA immediately urged its Twitter followers to do the same, and so far we've been able to keep the conversation positive, but the governor needs to keep hearing from us. He's sure hearing from the other side, who have been relentless in their attacks on the Harvey Milk Day bill and in their lies about our community.
Which brings me to the single most important thing you can do today to protect Harvey Milk Day: call the Governor's office right now at 916.445.2841.
Although the Secretary of Education doesn't yet understand my uncle's global impact, I do believe the Governor can see the President's perspective when the he said "Harvey Milk was here to recruit us -- all of us -- to join a movement and change a nation."
SB 572, the Harvey Milk Day would require the governor proclaim May 22 each year as Harvey Milk Day. It would encourage public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date. Learn more at eqca.org/legislation.
(Crossposted at California Ripple Effect.)