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Three Californians to receive Harvey Milk award at White House

May 21, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy
  • The late Harvey Milk in front of his camera shop in San Francisco in 1977.
The late Harvey Milk in front of his camera shop in San Francisco in 1977. (Associated Press )

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is heading to the White House on Wednesday to be honored as one of 10 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender officials to be named a Harvey Milk Champion of Change.

Lara’s selection comes a month after the California Senate approved his measure stripping an exemption from state taxes for groups including the Boy Scouts of America that do not allow gays as members.

The White House also named Redondo Beach Mayor Michael A. Gin and California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird as recipients of the honor.

“The fact that three Californians are being honored is telling of the essential role that California plays in advancing equality,” Lara said.

The White House ceremony is being held on Harvey Milk Day, which commemorates the birthday of the former San Francisco County supervisor, the first openly gay public official in California, who was killed by a colleague.

“Though much has changed since Harvey Milk’s time, we still have an incredible sense of responsibility to live up to the promises of change that he lived and died for,” Lara said.

California schools also commemorate Harvey Milk Day, with teachers encouraged to talk about the slain civil rights leader.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com

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