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Milk deserves recognition

Posted: December 26, 2009 7:17 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2009 4:55 a.m.
In response to George Runner’s quote in the article “District leaves Milk Day up to teachers” (Oct. 14):
Quote: “Harvey Milk, after all, was not a courageous trailblazer of civil rights like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks.”

A National Tribute is to honor contributions to the well-being of our country.

Courage: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. The number of threats and ultimate price he paid for his contributions to this country were the same as Abraham Lincoln’s and MLK, Jr.’s — they all stood by their convictions despite the difficulty, pain, danger and fear.

Trailblazer: a person who blazes a trail for others to follow through unsettled country. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to any substantial political office in the history of the planet.

Rosa Parks herself said: “Back in Montgomery during my growing up there, it was completely legally enforced racial segregation and of course, I struggled against it for a long time.

“I felt that it was not right to be deprived of freedom when we were living in the Home of the Brave and Land of the Free.

“Of course, when I refused to stand up, on the orders of the bus driver, for a white passenger to take the seat, and I was not sitting in the front of the bus, as so many people have said, and neither was my feet hurting, as many people have said.

“But I made up my mind that I would not give in any longer to legally-imposed racial segregation and of course my arrest brought about the protests for more than a year.

“And in doing so, Dr. Martin Luther King (Jr.) became prominent because he was the leader of our protests along with many other people. And I’m very glad that this experience I had then brought about a movement that triggered across the United States and in other places.”

She did not intend to be a trailblazer, but her actions ended up being used that way. Harvey Milk ran three times as an openly gay politician for a reason.

He said, “We don’t have to wait for budgets to be passed, surveys to be made, political wheeling and dealing. For it takes no
compromising to give people their right. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom.”

Where Rosa Parks’ single act spawned a national fervor, Harvey Milk worked diligently day in and day out to bring about similar attention.

All contributors to this country’s progressivism are worthy of recognition, not just the ones you can agree with today.


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