White House Expands ‘Champions of Change’ Contest to Include LGBT Individuals

April 17, 2013 - 5:05 PM
Theater-Harvey Milk Concert Piece

San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk (AP Photo/file)

(CNSNews.com) – The White House announced it is expanding its “Champions of Change” contest, which “spotlights ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” to include gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

The announcement posted on the White House website cites President Barack Obama posthumously awarding Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Milk, a gay man who was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and later shot to death by a rival politician, served as the inspiration for the expanded contest.

“Harvey Bernard Milk dedicated his life to shattering boundaries and challenging assumptions,” the April 9 announcement stated. “As one of the first openly gay elected officials in this country, he changed the landscape of opportunity for the nation's gay community.

“Throughout his life, he fought discrimination with visionary courage and conviction,” the announcement stated. “Before his tragic death in 1978, he wisely noted, ‘Hope will never be silent,’ and called upon Americans to stay true to the guiding principles of equality and justice for all.

“Harvey Milk's voice will forever echo in the hearts of all those who carry forward his timeless message,” the announcement said.

The announcement explained that in addition to “ordinary people,” LQBT individuals will get separate recognition.

“Established in 2011, the White House Champions of Change Program regularly spotlights ordinary citizens who are doing extraordinary things for to their community, their country, and their fellow citizens,” the announcement stated. “In that tradition, we will honor as Harvey Milk Champions of Change a small group of LGBT state and local elected and appointed officials who have demonstrated a strong commitment to both equality and public service.”

The announcement also invited visitors to the White House website to sign up “for the latest news on efforts by the Obama administration on behalf of the LGBT community.”