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Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace to follow the example of our brother Harvey Milk, that we might fearlessly contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may employ our freedom and our privilege in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations. Ground us in your love and in your compassion to be agents of change and proclaimers of the hope that will never be silent. All this we ask in the name of the One who created us in love and called us to walk in love together. Amen.

May 22nd is Harvey Milk Day … a day of special observance commemorating the work and witness of Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) —  the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.

Milk served almost 11 months on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and was responsible for passing a robust gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor, who had recently resigned.

Anne Kronenberg, Milk’s friend and campaign manager, wrote:

“What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.”

Today we celebrate his vision of a world where LGBTQ people receive not only equal protection but equal dignity — and we give thanks for his life and legacy as we continue in the struggle to make that vision a reality.