California State Senator Mark Leno announced today the re-introduction of his bill to proclaim May 22nd (Harvey Milk's Birthday) a day of recognition for the slain gay rights leader's contributions to the State of California. Senate Bill 572 would specifically encourage public schools across the State to: "conduct suitable commemorative exercises on Harvey Milk's life and his contributions to the state." The special day would not be a paid holiday and would have no fiscal impact on the California State budget. A similar bill was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last year, with the Governor's main argument against the holiday being that Milk was only a local San Francisco hero, not a statewide hero.
Actor Sean Penn was on hand for today's press conference announcing the Bill and calling attention to the fact that Harvey Milk was not only a San Francisco hero, not only a California hero but also an American hero — deserving of this recognition at last.
A leading figure in the LGBT film world, Jenni Olson has been making connections between queer films and the audiences who need to see them for more than 30 years. She is one of the world's leading experts on LGBT cinema history and was also one of the founders of PlanetOut.com. She is currently an independent consultant. Her latest film project is The Royal Road. Please follow her on Facebook or Twitter for updates. To read even more biographical details, please click here.