Harvey Milk Day? Good Idea? Bad Idea?

Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 11:32 am
PLEASE do not make this another examination of sexuality, homosexuality, prejudices, religious fanaticism, or any other stuff that usually pops up.

I am interested in the appropriateness of a "Harvey Milk Day" bill that would encourage teachers to discuss this in the classroom.

Good idea? Bad idea?


Here is one commentary opposing the idea:
Up in Sacramento, awaiting the governor’s pen, is a bill that apparently doesn’t mean much to the mainstream media, but should.

News of the measure is making the rounds anyway, via the Internet, where some incredulous parents are actually checking urban legend sites to see if it could possibly be true.

Bad news, folks. It is.

In a vote split straight down party lines, the California Legislature approved AB 2567, a bill that would establish May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, to honor the San Francisco supervisor and homosexual activist who was murdered in 1978.

The bill " yet another convincing argument in support of home schooling " would “designate that date as having special significance in public schools,” and would “encourage public schools to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date.”

Since when were elementary school discussions of adult sexual matters deemed “suitable?”

They’re not. And for moms and dads still operating under the belief parents still have a say in their children’s sexual education, they never will be.

Still, teachers can expect to cover all the gender bases should Schwarzenegger sign the bill, which touts Harvey Milk’s life and political career as the embodiment “of the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights movement.”
More here:

Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 11:53 am
How soon do children forget that in the 1960's Dr Martin L. King, Jr. was much more maligned than Harvey Milk because he was promoting the equal rights of negroes as they were called in those days. A more common slur was used but I dont think I can pass that N-word in this forum.

Such is the very basic and fundamental reason to remember a man like Harvey Milk. To commemorate his deeds not his sexual preference; To remember his struggle against an injustice, for which he paid for with his life. To broaden our childrens' minds instead of perpetuating the narrow minded views promoted by some here.

If our schools are to just teach reading, writing and arithmetic, then lets forget the great men and women that made our country great and seriously risk going back to to the old ways of slavery, misogyny, class distinctions, brutality and witch hunts.

Forget not that classic quote: "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it" Lets leave our bad history in the past and focus on a better future.

Let Harvey Milk have his day.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 03:31 pm
I don't see why discussing his sexuality would come into play at all in an elementary school classroom. Instead, something more along the lines of,

Today we honor a man who was killed for simply being who he was.

No discussion of body parts needs to enter into it.
ebrown p
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 03:40 pm
Of course it is a good idea. "Protecting" kids from knowledge goes against the whole idea of Education.

Can you be an educated person without understanding that Homosexuality is part of our society?

Can you be an educated person without knowing the sometimes violent history of persecution against homosexuals and their struggle for rights and recognition?

Can you be an educated person without being able to understand the perspective of important minorities?

If the idea is to raise ignorant kids, who are unable to understand perspectives other than their own, than banning recognition of Harvey Milk Day is a great idea.

(The fact that this article uses this as a justification for home schooling is very sad.)
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ebrown p
Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 03:47 pm
My three year old daughter knows a lesbian couple.

She understands that this couple loves each other the way that mommy and daddy love each other. She gets this just fine even though she has no idea about the mechanics of sex.

A 3 year-old has no problem with this. I don't understand why adults are so hung up about it.
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Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 04:18 pm
jespah wrote:

I don't see why discussing his sexuality would come into play at all in an elementary school classroom.

No matter if we would want it to or not, it would. Thats just how it will happen.

I have to say that I for one do not see an issue with teaching children about someone who stood for several different things, had the power to MAKE things happen, and taught others how to accept differences and how to behave.

Just the fact that people still try to judge others for things they have no control over ( Like who is sleeping with what sex) means that the discussion of sexual identity will exist.

But.... bright light folks..... Kids discuss things like that between themselves ~all the time~. That is where misinformation comes from, and where lack of education BEGINS.
When we set back and let our children talk about sex between themselves because we as adults are so squeemish we can not even answer a question about sex....let alone teach them about someone whos sexuality we dont agree with....all based on that imagined 'control over who is doing what'..

this man was not only able to be himself in public, but he was able to make lawmakers, politicians, and even housewives ... listen to what he had to say. He was able to bring attention to his cause with out too much uproar, deaths and other disturbances in society.
Why NOT teach our kids about this person? because right now the biggest names in some kids' world are gun toating rap groups who say shooting each other is a fact of life, that women are bitches and have no respect for anyone.
Who cares about someones sexuality if they can be a positive influence to a large group of people......and in this mans case, he was an influence to the entire nation.
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Reply Sun 21 Sep, 2008 07:19 pm
If anyone wants to read the text of the bill itself rather than rely on the filters who interpret it with their own perspectives, here's the actual text. I'm pasting the link as well as the entire text.



INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Leno
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Laird and Nunez)
(Coauthors: Senators Kehoe, Kuehl, and Migden)

FEBRUARY 22, 2008

An act to amend Section 37222 of the Education Code, and to add Section 6721 to the Government Code, relating to Harvey Milk Day.


AB 2567, as introduced, Leno. Harvey Milk Day: official designation.
Existing law requires the Governor to proclaim certain days each year for specified reasons. Existing law also designates particular days each year as having special significance in public schools and educational institutions and encourages those entities to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on those dates.
This bill would require the Governor to proclaim May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day, and would designate that date as having special significance in public schools and educational institutions and encourage those entities to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Harvey Bernard Milk was born on May 22, 1930, in Woodmere, New York. He was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in a major city of the United States. He was assassinated in 1978 at San Francisco's City Hall by a political rival. Perhaps more than any other modern figure, Harvey Milk's life and political career embody the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement in California, across the nation, and throughout the world.
(b) Harvey Milk graduated from the University at Albany in Albany, New York in 1951. Thereafter, he served for a short time in the United States Navy.
(c) During the 1960s, Harvey Milk lived in New York City, first working on Wall Street as an investment banker and later as a theater producer.
(d) In 1972, Harvey Milk moved with his partner, Scott Smith, to San Francisco, California and opened a camera shop called "Castro Camera."
(e) Harvey Milk soon emerged as a community leader in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco, founding the Castro Valley Association of Local Merchants, and representing that association's interests before city government.
(f) Harvey Milk unsuccessfully ran for the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco in 1973, and unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly in 1975. With each race, he gained more prominence and eventually became known endearingly by his neighbors as the "Mayor of Castro Street."
(g) After San Francisco adopted a district election system in 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco representing District 5. It was the first time in the history of the United States that an openly gay man was elected to a prominent political office.
(h) During his term on the board of supervisors, Harvey Milk sponsored and successfully passed a gay rights ordinance.
(i) Harvey Milk was instrumental in defeating Proposition 6, commonly known as the Briggs Initiative at the General Election on November 7, 1978, that would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in the public schools of this state.
(j) As an openly gay leader, Harvey Milk encouraged LGBT individuals to be visible in society. During the Gay Freedom Day Parade of June 25, 1978, he told the crowd, "Gay people, we will not win their rights by staying quietly in our closets."
(k) Harvey Milk was also successful in forging coalitions with San Francisco's other minority leaders. His message was one of unity against oppression in all its forms. In the same Gay Freedom Day speech, he said, "I call upon all minorities and especially the millions of lesbians and gay men to wake up from their dreams ... to gather on Washington and tell ... their nation: "Wake up ... wake up, America ... no more racism, no more sexism, no more ageism, no more hatred ... no more!"
(l) In 1978, Dan White, who represented District 8 on the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco, resigned from his seat due to financial hardship, thus allowing the Mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone, to appoint a successor.
(m) Dan White later asked Mayor Moscone to be reappointed to his seat. Mayor Moscone declined after having been lobbied by several city leaders, including Harvey Milk, who often clashed with Dan White due to their political differences.
(n) On November 27, 1978, Dan White went to San Francisco City Hall to meet with Mayor Moscone and make a final plea for reappointment. When the mayor declined the request, Dan White shot and killed Mayor Moscone, then went to Harvey Milk's office and also shot and killed him.
(o) Dan White subsequently surrendered to the authorities. Though he had carried a gun, 10 extra rounds, and crawled through a window to avoid metal detectors, Dan White denied that the shootings were premeditated.
(p) Thousands attended a spontaneous candlelight memorial vigil the night of Harvey Milk's funeral.
(q) Harvey Milk had anticipated the possibility of assassination and had recorded several audio tapes to be played in that event. One of the tapes included his now famous quote, "If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
(r) Dan White's trial, which began four months after the killings, was one of the most closely watched trials in California at that time. The prosecution claimed that Dan White's motive was revenge.
But Dan White's attorney, Douglas Schmidt, claimed that Dan White was a victim of pressure and had been depressed, a state exacerbated by his consuming a large quantity of junk food before the murders, which became known as the "Twinkie Defense."
(s) During the trial, the jury also heard Dan White's confession, which was tape recorded the day after the murders. During the confession, Dan White tearfully talked of how Mayor Moscone and Harvey Milk had refused to give him his supervisor's job back.
(t) Dan White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter on the grounds of diminished capacity and sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison, a sentence widely denounced as lenient and motivated by homophobia. During the jury selection process in the criminal trial, defense attorneys had excluded candidates they deemed "pro-gay."
(u) In protest of the lenient sentence, San Francisco's gay community erupted in what came to be known as the "White Night Riots."
It began as a peaceful march from the Castro District to City Hall, but turned into a riot when marchers clashed with the police force outside of City Hall.
(v) Harvey Milk's legacy as a civil rights leader is still felt today. He was named one of TIME Magazine's most influential people of the 20th century. Many institutions and organizations are named for Harvey Milk, including the Harvey Milk Recreational Arts Center, the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, the Harvey Milk Institute, the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library, and the Harvey Milk Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Democratic Club in San Francisco.
(w) Outside of San Francisco, a number of alternative schools in the United States are named for Harvey Milk, including Harvey Milk High School in New York City, and Oakes College at the University of California, Santa Cruz has an oncampus apartment building named for Harvey Milk.
(x) In February 2007, the City of San Francisco agreed to erect a bust of Harvey Milk in City Hall in tribute to his service and to memorialize his life's work. A lengthy process to choose a design took place, and a gala installation event is planned for May 2008, to coincide with Harvey Milk's birthday.
(y) Harvey Milk's life and social contributions have left an indelible mark on the history of our nation and hold a special meaning for the people of California.
SEC. 2. Section 37222 of the Education Code is amended to read:
37222. (a) The following days in each year are designated and set apart as days having special significance:
(1) The second Wednesday in May as the Day of the Teacher.
(2) April 21 of each year as John Muir Day.
(3) April 6 of each year as California Poppy Day.
(4) May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day.
(b) On each of the days designated in subdivision (a), all public schools and educational institutions are encouraged to observe those days and to conduct suitable commemorative exercises as follows:
(1) On the Day of the Teacher, exercises commemorating and directing attention to teachers and the teaching profession.
(2) On John Muir Day, exercises stressing the importance that an ecologically sound natural environment plays in the quality of life for all of us, and emphasizing John Muir's significant contributions to the fostering of that awareness and the indelible mark he left on the State of California.
(3) On California Poppy Day, exercises honoring the California Poppy, including instruction about native plants, particularly the California Poppy, and the economic and aesthetic value of wildflowers; promoting responsible behavior toward our natural resources and a spirit of protection toward them; and emphasizing the value of natural resources and conservation of natural resources.
(4) On Harvey Milk Day, exercises remembering the life of Harvey Milk and recognizing his accomplishments as well as the contributions he made to this state.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature that the exercises encouraged in this section be integrated into the regular school program, and be conducted by the school or institution within the amount otherwise budgeted for educational programs.
SEC. 3. Section 6721 is added to the Government Code, to read:
6721. The Governor shall annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 04:06 am
If a bullet should enter my brain ...

Man, powerful stuff.

Of course you're right, shewolf; kids will talk about it and whatever they know or think they know.

But they'll do that with or without a special day in which to do so. Why not celebrate the guy's life and accomplishments out in the open -- gee, what a concept, not closeting the remembrance? -- and golly gosh gee willikers if children discuss the fact that sometimes penises do not go into vaginas I don't think the world will go careening off its axis.
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Reply Wed 17 Nov, 2010 02:49 pm
i think harvey milk day would be a good idea, its important for kids to learn about homosexuality and that its normal, because if at a young age, you dont really learn about it, you could grow up thinking its not normal.
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