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Lt. Dan Choi to be given Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award

SAN DIEGO – Lt. Dan Choi will be given the 2010 Harvey Milk Civil Rights Award at the second annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.

The event will be from 7:30 to 9 a.m. May 21 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 1 Park Blvd., downtown.

Choi, a West Point graduate with degrees in Arabic and environmental engineering, was booted out of the Army because he was gay. He has become one of the leading spokesmen against the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits LGBT military members from serving openly.

Mayor Jerry Sanders and his openly lesbian daughter Lisa Sanders will emcee the breakfast.

San Diego has the distinction of being the city where Harvey Milk served in the Navy. It is also the city where the Human Relations Committee, chaired by City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, was first to formally recognize Harvey Milk Day.

In 2009, SB 572 was passed by the Assembly and Senate, then signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, designating May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, an annual statewide day of recognition.

When he was elected to the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco in 1977, Harvey Milk (1930-1978) became one of the first openly gay men to be elected to political office in the United States. On election night, Harvey Milk reminded his supporters: "This is not my victory -- it's yours. If a gay man can win, it proves that there is hope for all minorities who are willing to fight."

Milk was assassinated (along with Mayor George Moscone) on Nov. 27, 1978, 11 months after taking office. Although he did not live to see his dreams fulfilled, the example of his life and his leadership has made him an important national symbol for the struggle for human rights and freedom of expression.

All proceeds from this event will benefit The San Diego LGBT Community Center. Tickets and sponsorship information are available by calling (619) 692-2077, ext. 204.