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The stamp, which was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá, centers on a photograph of Milk taken by Daniel Nicoletta.
May 22 is officially "Harvey Milk Day" in California, but the birthday of the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr will be observed throughout the country, including at the White House where a ceremony will be held to unveil the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp.
After years of lobbying, on October 12, 2009, the day after the National Equality March in Washington, D. C., California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill designating May 22 "Harvey Milk Day" in California. Gay organizations and other groups throughout California use Harvey Milk Day as an opportunity to commemorate the values of inclusiveness, community organizing, volunteering, and activism that Milk embodied.
Milk, who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, was among the first openly gay men to be elected to public office in the United States. His career was tragically cut short by his assassination in San Francisco's City Hall in 1978, which made him the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr.
In 2009 President Obama awarded Milk a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In presenting the medal to Milk's nephew, Stuart Milk, who is also gay, Obama remarked: "For much of his early life, he had silenced himself. In the prime of his life, he was silenced by the act of another. But in the brief time in which he spoke--and ran, and led--his voice stirred the aspirations of millions of people. He would become, after several attempts, one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office. And his message of hope--hope unashamed, hope unafraid--could not ever be silenced. It was Harvey who said it best: 'You gotta give 'em hope.'"
On May 22, 2014 at the White House a ceremony sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement, the United States Postal Service, and the Harvey Milk Foundation will unveil the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp. The event will feature remarks by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Tammy Baldwin, Representative John Lewis, Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman, and other distinguished guests including the Co-Founders of the Harvey Milk Foundation, Stuart Milk and Anne Kronenberg.
The White House Ceremony will be live streamed at 3:00 p.m. on May 22, 2014 and may be accessed here.
The stamp, which was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá centers on a photograph of Milk taken by Daniel Nicoletta in front of Milk's camera store in San Francisco's Castro District. The colors of the gay pride flag appear in a vertical strip in the top left corner.
The Postal Service notes that Milk "was an eloquent speaker with a winning sense of humor and was able to build coalitions between diverse groups. His achievements gave hope and confidence to gay people at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility."
There will also be a special dedication ceremony of the stamp in San Francisco on May 28, 2014.
The clip below is from the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk.