Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

49th Anniversary of MLK Assassination: Where Are We Now?

Memphis,TN – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was struck down by an assassin’s bullet 49 years ago today, April 4, 1968. He never intended to be a martyr. We who are committed to his legacy, and to the tradition of Christian social justice advocacy must pause long enough on this anniversary to count the cost, to recommit ourselves to the long, hard work of the struggle for human justice and dignity, and to lift all the economic boats of the disadvantaged and marginalized in our society. That would be a worthy way to remember Dr. King today.
Dr. King was a Christian social activist. First and foremost, he was a preacher of the Good News of release to the captives, justice for the poor and sick, and the establishment of what he called “the Beloved Community.” Though the political implications of his life’s work are plain to see from our vantage point today, he was motivated by the non-violent message of Jesus, the prophets of the Hebrew Bible, and the teachings of Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi. The roots of his action ran deep into the soil of religion.
Today, we are a far more secular movement on the progressive side of the political spectrum. It would serve us well to reassess the gifts and benefits of religious faith and training for the justice battles we face in our current world: the continuing fight for racial equality and women’s rights, the effort to ban nuclear weapons from the face of the earth and “study war no more”, and the right of everyone to a fair share of the economy. We also find ourselves locked in a hard fight for the full equality of LGBTQIA Americans, a priority of President Barack Obama that is now under threat from the Trump administration in Washington and its minions on the religious right wing. President Barack Obama was and remains a spiritual and political descendent of Dr. King.
Where does the courage to fight on come from? From where does the strength come to remain committed until justice finally comes to pass?
Today, Dr. King’s vision of a Beloved Community of equality and equity, of dignity and peace must be embraced by all lovers of justice, sacred and secular alike. That is how we may justly remember Dr. King today–by keeping our eyes fixed on the Prize.

April 4, 2017 Posted by | African Americans, Assassination, Christian Social Activism, Economic Justice, Hate Crimes, Human Rights Struggle, LGBTQ, Martin Luther King Jr., Tennessee, Women's Rights Struggle | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 49th Anniversary of MLK Assassination: Where Are We Now?

Slain LGBT Icon Harvey Milk Inducted into California Hall of Fame

The Associated Press reports that Harvey Milk was inducted on Tuesday into the California Hall of Fame, along with 12 other notables from the Golden State.  Thirty-one years after Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by former San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White, Milk will be featured for the next year in the California Hall of Fame section of the California Museum in Sacramento.  Milk, who had served as a San Franciso City Supervisor for 11 months, was 48 at the time of his murder.  According to the Bay Area Reporter, Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, received the commendatory Spirit of California medal marking his uncle’s induction from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver.  Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, read the citation.  Interviewed at the induction event, former campaign manager for Milk’s historic 1977 election campaign, Ann Kronenburg, called the honor, “definitely long past due.”  Smiling, she told reporters, “Harvey’s up there right now dancing.”  When asked about the importance of Harvey Milk to the LGBT community of California, Kronenburg quickly corrected the reporter, “To the world’s. Since the movie [Milk] came out I have continually received letters from around the world about what Harvey’s story means,” she explained. “And what it means is there’s hope. There’s so much hope.”  Milk’s Hall of Fame exhibit features a recently-opened urn containing a lock of his hair, a letter in his handwriting, a campaign button, and a rainbow flag. The memorabilia were held by the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. until transported back to California for the exhibit.  Some 50,000 school children are expected to visit the exhibition during the coming year.  Though there were 12 other inductees honored at the ceremony, the greatest interest by the public and the press was clearly focused on the choice of Milk.  Protesters criticized the selection of the famed gay-rights pioneer for the Hall of Fame.  A group from San Leandro’s American Warrior Evangelical Ministry marched outside the ceremony venue carrying signs reading, “Harvey Milk was a pervert.”  The Bay Area Reporter quotes one of the demonstrators, Ken Arras, as saying, “We just believe that [Milk] is undeserving of this honor.  He may have been a nice guy outside of his immoral lifestyle, but what has he done? This award is all about his lifestyle. It’s just about him being a homosexual.”  Another of the San Leandro protestors, Don Grundmann, admitted that Milk’s murder was “a fantastic tragedy,” but argued that an assassination is insufficient reason for public recognition, referring to both the Hall of Fame induction and to Harvey Milk Day, which he claimed was a direct assault on children.  Grundmann went to to assert that no LGBT person should ever be inducted in the state’s Hall of Fame since “it would lead to acceptance” of immorality by impressionable youth.  Earlier in the year, Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill sponsored by San Francisco’s openly-gay State Senator, Mark Leno, creating May 22 “Harvey Milk Day,” a day of special significance throughout California.  The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009 included other stellar Californians, such as football coaching legend, John Madden, actor Carol Burnett, Chuck Yeager, the first test pilot to break the sound barrier, filmmaker George Lucas, and author Danielle Steele.

December 3, 2009 Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, California, gay men, gun violence, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Legislation, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Politics, Popular Culture, Protests and Demonstrations, Remembrances | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Slain LGBT Icon Harvey Milk Inducted into California Hall of Fame


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