Thursday, 24 April 2014 20:38

U.S. Postal Service to issue stamp commemorating iconic gay activist with Lithuanian roots

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U.S. Postal Service to issue stamp commemorating iconic gay activist with Lithuanian roots US Postal Service

Harvey Milk, a man with roots in Lithuania, but virtually unknown there, will be commemorated in a forever stamp next month with a special dedication ceremony at the White House, the U.S. Postal Service announced on April 22.

Harvey Milk was a gay activist, politician, icon, and martyr. He gained U.S. national attention when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, and became the first openly-gay elected official in California. His iconic status was heightened by his theater-inspired performance as an activist-politician, and as a gay martyr after his assassination in 1979.

Harvey Milk was born to a Jewish family from Lithuania who had emigrated from Kaunas, Lithuania to the U.S. at the very end of 19th century.

His official name, that was from his Lithuanian ancestry, was Glimpy Milch.

Harvey Milk contributed a lot to the gay rights Movement. In a news release, the Postal Service called Milk a "visionary leader" who gave hope and confidence to the LGBT community.

“Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, ensuring equality and providing needed services” , the U.S. Postal Service said.

Milk’s political career was tragically cut short less than a year after he took office in California when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated on Nov. 27, 1978.

In 2009, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

In 2008, the legacy of Harley Milk was immortalized in the Oscar winning film “Milk”.

It is interesting that Harvey Milk was played by actor Sean Penn, whose paternal grandparents were also Jewish emigrants from Lithuania.

The stamp’s official first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place May 22 at the White House, and will coincide with Milk’s birthday.

The public is invited to attend the May 28 Harvey Milk Forever Stamp special dedication ceremony in San Francisco.

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