harvey_milk_stamp_launched_in_white_house_ceremonyA stamp dedicated to Harvey Milk, America’s first openly gay politician, was officially launched at the White House in Washington on Thursday.

The dedication ceremony, on what would have been Milk’s 84th birthday, was attended by high profile politicians, the Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman and Stuart Milk, the nephew of the late icon of gay equality.

Dedicating the stamp, Stroman said: “Let this stamp inspire a new generation to continue Harvey Milk’s legacy — to keep working toward a world where prejudice gives way to acceptance, where division gives way to unity, and where fear gives way to hope.”

Milk commented that, “the dreams uncle Harvey shared with me — for a world based not simply on tolerance, but on inclusion, not simply on an allowance for differences, but on the celebration of humanity’s diversity, are dreams for which he made the ultimate sacrifice.

“The stamp represents a remembrance of the price paid by those that have gone before us in the struggle for equality and is also a graceful reminder that we each have a role to play in nourishing hope for those still struggling for acceptance, and that equality requires our vigilance, not only here, but across this globe that we all share,” he said.

Openly lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, told the audience: “Standing here as a United States senator and a lesbian, it’s incredible to look back upon a time when running for San Francisco supervisor as an openly gay man seemed like a revolutionary act, and Harvey knew that. He welcomed the attention, he weathered the insults, he shrugged off the death threats. And it wasn’t to satisfy his own ambition but rather to answer the call he felt, to move the cause of equality forward.”

Available in sheets of 20 stamps, the stamp image is based on a 1977 black and white photograph of Milk in front of his Castro street camera store in San Francisco.

Milk was assassinated in 1978 at the age of 48 by a disgruntled city official.

In 2009 he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US. Harvey Milk Day is marked annually in California.

An Oscar winning film about Milk’s life, starring Sean Penn, was released in 2008.

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