Supervisors in Orange County, California won't recognize slain gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk, on his state-sanctioned day, the L.A. Times reports:
Activists, for the second year, asked Orange County supervisors Tuesday to recognize Milk's birthday with a proclamation, but the board declined the opportunity, as it did last year. One of the supervisors, Janet Nguyen (pictured), walked from the board room shortly after the activists began their presentation. Last year, Nguyen also left the meeting as the activists spoke.
Dave Hoen, a 28-year Santa Ana resident, and other activists waited more than six hours before they could step to the podium, and by then the room was almost empty. Hoen read a poem, saying he suspected that fear was the reason the five supervisors have yet to endorse a proclamation honoring Milk.
"You're happy to keep your job instead," he said.
A campaign pressuring the supervisors began two months ago, to no avail.
The L.A. Times notes the significance recognition from the OC would have:
One of Milk's final battles was to take on then-state Sen. John V. Briggs, a Fullerton resident who championed a state initiative that would have essentially given school boards the right to fire openly gay teachers…Stuart Milk, the former supervisor's nephew, said in an interview Tuesday that he remembered his uncle talking about Briggs as someone who used hate and exclusion to get ahead.He said it would be symbolically significant for Orange County to recognize the day.
"The important element is because you have a history of non-acceptance doesn't mean you need to continue on that path," he said. "Harvey Milk Day is the way to do that."
UPDATE: A note received by Towleroad from Christy Delp, Office of Supervisor Janet Nguyen.
On behalf of Supervisor Janet Nguyen, I'd like to inform you that the LA Times article titled “O.C. declines to honor Milk” did not report accurate information when it stated that Supervisor Nguyen “walked from the Board room shortly after the activists began their presentation.” This statement is incorrect; the Supervisor was present throughout the entirety of the public comments section. She left after all of the public comments were made, right before CEO and Board of Supervisor’s comments.
In addition, just for your information, last year Supervisor Nguyen coincidentally left the Board meeting before public comments in order to nurse her infant son, as she had done in other Board meetings. It's important to note that when the Supervisors step off of the dais, they do still have the capability to listen to the Board meeting.
I have already been in contact with Nicole Santa Cruz, the author of the LA Times article, and she will make the correction.