Harvey Milk Celebrations Come to Library

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Community members are invited to the Alameda Main Library from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, to celebrate the winners of the student poster and poetry contests.

Guests can also create art, watch the awarding of a scholarship winner and take a look at the books recently donated to the Alameda Free Library as part of the city’s annual Harvey Milk Day events.

All posters submissions will be on display, event organizers say.

This event will follow the show set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 30, put on by the Oakland East Bay Men’s Chorus Concert at First Congregational Church of Alameda, 1912 Central Ave.

A reception hosted by Alameda Faith Communities will follow the concert.

Milk, a gay-rights activist and member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was assassinated in 1978. In 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established Harvey Milk Day on May 22 as a statewide day of remembrance.

“Alameda’s Harvey Milk Day celebration has become one of the larger events in North California,” said Gene Kahane of Encinal High School, who helped start the poetry and poster contest last year in cooperation with event co-chair Olivia Higgins, an educator and activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning rights.

Harvey Milk Day activities have taken place at many different schools over the past few years, including the College of Alameda, Lincoln Middle School, Wood Middle School and Encinal High. “There’s a really important school connection,” said Kahane, “thanks to the work of the school district’s LGBTQ Roundtable.”

The poster and poetry contest, he says, aim “to help the community celebrate Harvey Milk and encourage kids to learn both about him and his social-justice efforts.” There were over 30 entries in each category last year, and Kahane hopes a similar or greater number of students will participate this year.

Janet Levaux