I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.
–Jane Addams, in a speech to the Chicago Political Equality League in 1897
This quote from Jane Addams seems particularly salient given recent events (h/t Penny L. Richards). I’m thrilled to see more diversity in our highest political offices and it’s also quite exciting that Americans are seeming to really care about politics.
May I suggest some ways that you Californians might want to exercise a bit of your political influence? First of all, grab your cellphone. It’s time to call the Governor.
1) Harvey Milk Day: This bill would require the Governor to annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, and would encourage public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises on that date.
To show your support for this bill, calll 916-445-2841
If you reach a staff member, tell them that you are support AB 2567 Harvey Milk Day.
Or if you get a recording…follow the recorded instructions to voice your opinion.
Some biographical details about Harvey Milk:
Perhaps more than any other modern figure, Harvey Milk’s life and political career embody the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement. Milk was born on May 22, 1930. He was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in a major city, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1977-1978.
While in office, Milk worked to pass a gay rights ordinance and defeat Proposition 6, commonly known as the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. Milk encouraged LGBT people to be visible in society and believed coming out was the only way they could achieve true social equality.
Milk was tragically assassinated in 1978 by Dan White, a former colleague on the Board of Supervisors whose politics often clashed with Milk’s. After resigning from the Board and being denied reappointment by then Mayor George Moscone, White entered San Francisco City Hall through a window armed with a gun and shot and killed both Moscone and Milk.
During White’s criminal trial, the defense argued that White was a victim of pressure and had been depressed, a state exacerbated by his consuming a large quantity of junk food before the murders. This later became known as the “Twinkie Defense.” When this tactic proved successful and White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and a mere seven years and eight months in prison, San Francisco’s gay community erupted into protest in what came to be known as the “White Night Riots.”
Harvey Milk’s legacy as a civil rights leader is still felt today. He was named one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people of the 20th century. Many institutions and organizations are named for Harvey Milk to commemorate his life and social contributions.
2) Universal HealthCare: SB 840.
To weigh in on this bill, call 916.445.2841.
Some info about this Universal HealthCare bill:
General approach. Senate Bill 840 would establish a single-payer health insurance system for California. A new government-administered system would replace all private health insurers and existing government insurance programs, including Medicare. An elected Health Insurance Commissioner would oversee all aspects of the new system, including contracts with health care providers, the allocation of health care workforce and capital equipment, and the introduction of new technologies.
Eligibility and benefits. All residents of California—defined as those with a physical presence in the state with intent to reside—would automatically be covered under the system. The benefit package would be very comprehensive, including not only the usual range of inpatient and outpatient services, diagnostic and laboratory services, and prescription drugs, but also mental health services, dental and vision care, chiropractic services, adult day care, and 100 days of skilled nursing care following hospitalization. Long-term care would not be covered. Copayments and deductibles could be established for other than preventive care. Patients could choose to receive services from any willing provider and providers would determine what services are medically necessary. Each person would have a primary care physician responsible for approving care to be received from specialists. People could choose to enroll with an integrated health care system, which would be responsible for all their care.