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VIDEOS: More than 1,000 to attend Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast in San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- The third annual Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast will bring together more than 1,000 of the city’s most influential policy-makers, businesspeople, philanthropists, volunteers and supporters of equality for all.

The annual breakfast is designed to honor an American hero, a gay American hero, and to reflect on the sacrifices he made for our nation, our state and for all of us as individuals. The event serves as a building block to new partnerships that bridge the gap to equality in the community.

Organizers will also honor people who have made a significant impact on the community through promoting equality.

This year the Harvey Milk Leadership Award of San Diego will be presented to the San Diego Unified School District board of education, Superintendent Bill Kowba and the Safe Schools Task Force. The district has taken tolerance to the schools this year by creating a Safe Schools Task Force. The task force has helped to ensure that a prohibition policy was placed on bullying, intimidation and harassment in the district’s schools.

Author Cheryl Kilodavis will be honored with the 2011 Harvey Milk Equality Award of San Diego during the breakfast. Kilodavis is the author of the children’s book, “My Princess Boy.”

“The book tells the tale of a 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by enjoying traditional girl things like jewelry, sparkles or anything pink,” Kilodavis told San Diego Gay & Lesbian News.

The book’s original intent was to serve as a tool, Kilodavis said, to explain her son’s preferences to teachers and other students. The anti-bullying message that the book carries made it resound with any child who has ever felt different or left out because they were unique.

“I am so honored the book is making an impact on increasing conversations about acceptance and inclusion," Kilodavis said. “It's a humbling feeling as well; to know that this book is being purchased to open discussions about how to return to our fundamental need to be accepted for who we are.”

The Harvey Milk Youth Video Award of San Diego will be awarded to Tantalera Conley, who is a senior at Crawford CHAMPS High School. The video essay contest was open to all high school students ages 14 to 18 in the San Diego school district. The submissions had to describe the hopeful, positive, respectful, attitudes, atmosphere and activities that they would like to see created at their schools to help reduce bullying for all students, including LGBT students.

The breakfast is a tribute to a man who most of us have heard of, some of us haven’t and whom many of us consider to be a great champion of human rights and civil liberties.

For those who haven’t heard of Milk, he was the first openly gay man elected into office in San Francisco. He was elected to the Board of Supervisors for the city in 1977 and served San Francisco for only 11 months before being assassinated by fellow Supervisor Dan White.
Although Milk’s time in office was brief, his impact was not.

Milk’s legacy is one that will not soon be forgotten. He was a David who went up against Goliath and won, showing the world that not only could minorities have a voice but that their voice could not be silenced if all minorities stood together.

In his inaugural speech Milk stated that, “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 has had two critically acclaimed movies made about his life, the first being “The Times of Harvey Milk.” It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 1983, and can be viewed below. The second movie about Milk’s life was “Milk,” starring Sean Penn, who won the Best Actor Oscar for the movie that was nominated for Best Film of 2009.

The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast will be held this year at the San Diego Hilton Bayfront on Friday, May 20, at 7:30 am. For more information, check out the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast page on Facebook or contact Casey Fields at The Center at (619) 692-2077 ext.247 or email him at cfields@thecentersd.org.