When I first established the, now 15th annual, Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast in San Diego, it was done in the wonderful traditions of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and Cesar Chavez breakfasts. It was my aim that our community also would establish an annual civil rights breakfast and because of the support of Robert Gleason and Dr. Dolores Jacobs of the LGBT Center (my two founding Co chairs) it became a reality and its highest attracting over 1200 people from all walks of life. I worked with Harvey milk in the 1970s against homophobes Anita Bryant and John Briggs and got to admire and love Harvey’s humor and love of Drag Queens. He adored Jose Julio Sarria and Sylvester and the Imperial Court of San Francisco. Harvey especially loved my mother and mentor, LGBTQ icon and World War II Veteran and the first openly LGBTQ candidate to run for public office in 1961, Empress I, Jose Julio Sarria.
When Harvey Milk was assassinated along with San Francisco Mayor George Mason, I vowed that he would never be forgotten and thus the following; the Harvey Milk US Postage Stamp, the USNS Harvey Milk Vessel, Harvey Milk Street (the first in the nation) the Harvey milk memorial bench and Balboa Park, the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award (established in 1979), the Harvey Milk Democratic Club of San Diego County, the Harvey Milk/Nicole Murray Ramirez Scholarship Program, etc. Trust and believe that all these accomplishments were done because of many people and organizations especially the Imperial Court de San Diego and the International Imperial Court System of the US, Canada and Mexico.
Becoming a good friend of global civil rights advocate Stuart Milk (Harvey’s nephew) and serving on the International Harvey Milk Foundation is such a highlight and honor for me.
Last month I was honored with the Harvey Milk Medal of Honor in Florida and on May 11th I will be honored at the Palm Springs Convention Center with the Harvey Milk Legacy Award, both truly “pinch me” moments.
I know that Harvey would be so proud that on May 12th San Diego will be honoring LGBTQ advocate, our communities beloved Paris Quion. We will also be honoring a national LGBTQ treasure and champion, Mayor Jackie Biskupski of Salt Lake City, our local Trans heroin Lili Wrene Wood, our pride of sports leagues the San Diego Loyal Soccer Club, and a true LGBTQ trailblazer and fighter for our rights for over 40 years the legendary Lorri L. Jean.
Three students will also once again receive $6000 in scholarships provided by the International Jose Julio Sarria/Nicole Murray Ramirez Scholarship Program our San Diego LGBT Community Center and the Harvey Milk/Nicole Murray Ramirez Scholarship of the Imperial Court de San Diego.
A special thank you to our next Lieutenant Governor Tony Atkins, Mayor Todd Gloria, and all my friends and supporters and as you all know why, I founded this civil rights breakfast to honor the legacy of Harvey Milk and to honor outstanding individuals that are walking in his footsteps, which is always my priority and focus.