Surrey to West Hollywood to the White HouseConversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest
Well, I feel like I am making a sequel to the movie Seven Days in May as my ongoing seven days have been a most wild ride. I started in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada where longtime political and gay activist Martin Rooney hosted me and kept me on a very busy schedule.
First, we went to Surrey’s beautiful new City Hall to meet with Acting Mayor Barinder Rasode who I met about five years ago when I spoke at a civil rights rally in Vancouver with members of the Canadian Parliament. She is a rising political star in Canada and is of Indian heritage and very supportive of GLBT rights. We had a great meeting and the next night we met again for dinner at a charity event at the Columbia Theatre.
This past Saturday was the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and more than 120 countries held events marking this day. I had the honor of speaking to the Canadian organization Youth for Change (13-17-year-olds) and these young people are already activists and very smart. My speaking engagement went well and it was really great seeing old friends and meeting new ones from all over Canada.
After four days in Canada, I was back in San Diego and then on the freeway with Susan Jester (founder AIDS Walk) heading to the West Hollywood City Hall Council Chambers. I was there to receive a special commendation honoring the International Imperial Court System for our leadership as organizers of the successful seven year campaign to get the U.S. Postal Service to issue a stamp in honor of Harvey Milk. I have been decades-long friends with Mayor Pro-tem John Heilman and Councilmembers Jeffrey Prang (now on his way to becoming L.A. County assessor) and John Duran (candidate for County supervisor). I just love the only straight member of the City Council, Abbe Land and it was good to meet new Mayor John D’Amico. It was a wonderful ceremony and after dinner with some Los Angeles activists and documentary film makers, Susan and I headed back to San Diego.
Wednesday was a full day of media interviews from all over the United States about the Harvey Milk stamp campaign which I was honored to be the national chair of.
Thursday morning I head to the airport for my flight to Washington, D.C. for the official unveiling of the Harvey Milk stamp at the White House. Among special guests at the ceremony will be the Milk family, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, Congressional Leader Nancy Pelosi, civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, and of course, Stuart Milk, founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation. I will be accompanied by members of the International Imperial Court Council of the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico. There will be a special reception at the White House after the ceremony and later that evening a special reception honoring the Milk family hosted by the Victory Fund at the prestigious Columbus Club at the Union Station. My two days in Washington will also include many meetings including meetings with officials of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the LGBT National Museum, National Black Justice Coalition and other GLBT and Latino civil rights leaders and political activists.
Then I’m off to Salt Lake City for events, speeches and presenting awards to Utah state Sens. James Dabakis and Jackie Biskupski (the first openly gay official elected in Utah). Then, on my way back to San Diego, next week, before I take a plane to New Mexico … I feel like an old queen version of Henry Kissinger!
Nicky Awards Aug. 24 at the San Diego Central Library
San Diego’s “Gay Academy Awards,” The annual Nicky Awards have been set for Sunday, Aug. 24 at the new downtown library. Allan Spyere returns as president of the Nicky Awards board of governors and executive producer. He plans some changes and an exciting entertaining event. For more information on the Aug. 24 annual Nicky Awards visit nickyawards.org or call 619-300-1232.
Nicole Murray Ramirez has been an award-winning columnist since 1973, and a Latino and gay activist for more than 45 years. He is currently a city commissioner and has served the last seven mayors of San Diego. He is also a national board member of the Harvey Milk Foundation and chairman of the International Court Council of the USA, Canada and Mexico. In 2013 Murray Ramirez was named “Mayor of Hillcrest” by a City proclamation. Nicolemrsandiego@aol.com
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