SAN DIEGO (CNS) - New street signs were unveiled Tuesday transforming Blaine Avenue, a two-block roadway in Hillcrest, into Harvey Milk Street.
City officials believe the street, which contains a handful of houses and apartment complexes, is the first in the country to honor the slain gay rights leader, who would have turned 82 Tuesday. While Milk mainly is associated with San Francisco, where he was a supervisor, he was stationed in San Diego when he was in the Navy.
Milk was one of the first openly gay politicians to hold public office when elected to the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco in 1977. He pushed through a gay rights law before he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot to death in late November 1978 by former Supervisor Dan White.
"His contributions to the fight for equality and his advocacy for the under-represented continue to shape our community and our country," said Todd Gloria, an openly gay member of the City Council who represents the area.
"Harvey Milk Street will long serve as a symbol of San Diego's respect for all and our celebration of diversity."
The City Council unanimously approved the name change earlier this month. The city's costs are being covered by donations, according to Gloria.
The street leads right to San Diego's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center on Centre Street.
Stuart Milk, a nephew of Harvey Milk, was among the crowd of about 150-200 that attended the unveiling, as was District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a lesbian running for mayor of San Diego.
"Harvey Milk's courageous fight for justice and equality for Californians continues to inspire and serves as a source of great pride and strength to the community," Dumanis said.
The front-runner in the mayoral race, Carl DeMaio, is one of two openly gay members of the City Council.
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a proclamation in honor of Milk's birthday.
"His courage in facing a hostile public and his insistence on being treated the same as anyone else contributed greatly to the advancement of this cause," Brown said.
"Milk succeeded because he was not just a gay leader but a champion for his district, a brilliant coalition builder and community organizer who brought the real concerns of ordinary people to city hall."
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