This historic event was attended by the Navy elite and San Diego's most prominent civic leaders.
SAN FRANCISCO - San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, along with other prominent local community leaders and activists were in San Francisco on Tuesday for a historic ship naming event.
In late July, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus declared that a Navy ship will be named the USNS Harvey Milk, after the LGBT activist and politician, who was assassinated in 1978 while serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The John Lewis class of oiler (T-AO-206), is set to be built in San Diego where Milk served from 1951 to 1955 as a diving instructor.
Mayor Faulconer addressed the attendees with a speech that recognized not only Milk's hard work as a civil rights leader, but the LGBT community and their continued commitment in keeping Milk's vision alive in San Diego and the country.
"It is appropriate that the ship that bears Harvey Milk’s name will be built in San Diego, the city where he served his country," the mayor said in his speech.
"Our nation was established on the ideals of equality and freedom, and the naming of this ship goes to show how much progress our country continues to make toward making those ideals a reality."
“We know Harvey Milk’s story as a civil rights pioneer, but his service in the Navy is something many haven’t heard about. Like Harvey, members of the LGBTQ community serve our neighborhoods in countless ways. It’s a great example of how it doesn’t matter whether you’re gay or straight – to be a leader, it’s your character that matters most."
Local activist, and the “Mayor of Hillcrest,” Nicole Murray-Ramirez began a letter writing campaign five years ago to honor the civil rights leader, asking that the Navy name a ship in Milk’s honor. Murray-Ramirez believes Tuesday's dedication was a result of those efforts.
Other San Diego leaders who attended on Tuesday were Councilmember Todd Gloria, San Diego Airport Authority Board Member Robert H. Gleason, San Diego Foreign Affairs Commission Chair Bruce Abrams, former President of American Veterans for Equality Bob Lehman and Ben Dillingham III of the San Diego County Veterans Advisory Council. Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins was also in attendance.
The ship will be constructed in San Diego and upon its completion and christening, San Diego will undergo three days of celebration on the waterfront, organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation and Murray-Ramirez.