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Martyred gay rights activist honored with postage stamp

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Published : 2014-05-23 19:34
Updated : 2014-05-23 19:34

WASHINGTON (AFP) ― The White House on Thursday was to unveil a postage stamp bearing the image of pioneering gay rights activist Harvey Milk, a San Francisco politician slain in office in 1978.

Milk, who was among America’s first openly gay elected officials and a member of San Francisco’s board of supervisors, was gunned down, along with the city’s mayor, by a political rival.

The stamp in his honor was to be unveiled at a White House ceremony attended by gay rights leaders and various U.S. public officials.

Stuart Milk, who runs the foundation that bears his late uncle’s name, said in a statement that the stamp has “incredibly special significance.”
The Harvey Milk Forever Stamp is unveiled by his nephew Stuart Milk (third from left) and Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman (third from right) in a dedication ceremony in the South Court Auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Thursday. (UPI-Yonhap)

“As letters and postcards are sent across the nation and around the globe, they can now bear the face of a man who gave his life in the struggle for human rights to ensure equality for every minority group and marginalized community,” he said.

The stamp “memorializes Harvey’s legacy of hope, is a gift to help us all remember where we’ve been and the work we still need to do,” Milk said.

The stamp shows a black and white portrait of Milk smiling, and is emblazoned with his name, with part of a gay pride rainbow flag visible the upper left hand corner.

It is the second major honor accorded to Milk by the Barack Obama administration, which in 2009 posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In a statement, the White House praised the legacy of the slain gay rights activist.

“Milk’s achievements gave hope and confidence to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in the United States and elsewhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination,” the statement said.

“Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, ensuring equality and providing needed services.”

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