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2017 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast Announces This Year’s Honoree

In today’s political climate maybe more so than ever before we are guided by Harvey Milk’s dream for a better tomorrow. The May 19, 2017 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, at the Palm Springs Convention Center, will celebrate Harvey Milk and his legacy.

Our common vision of an equal and just world without hate continues to serve as the foundation for this annual community breakfast and we are excited to announce one of the honorees with you today.

The Harvey B. Milk Hero of the Year award is presented to Jeff and Hillary Whittington; two parents whose first-hand account of family life showcases the power of love amid unexpected change.

“One of the most inspiring things that Harvey Milk had done as far as our family is concerned,” said Jeff Whittington, “was to encourage people to come out; to let their voices be heard; break down the walls, break down the barriers and start allowing people to see them for their authentic selves and be true to themselves, and this is our coming out … this is us making our voices heard …”

Jeff and Hillary reside in San Diego, CA and are the proud parents of two children, Ryland (9) and Brynley (5).  Shortly after Ryland’s birth, it was discovered that he was profoundly deaf.  Jeff and Hillary quickly armed themselves with information and set forth on a path towards cochlear implants for Ryland.  They soon found themselves working as advocates for deaf children and their families, and little did they know that their advocacy work was just preparation for what was coming next.  Ryland was assigned female at birth, but upon the acquisition of sound and speech, began to declare that he was indeed a boy.  Once again, Jeff and Hillary dove into the research and began to discover what Ryland was trying to tell them.  At 5 years old, they understood Ryland to be transgender and they assisted him in making the social transition to their son.  Just as they had done with the work involving deaf children and families, they have now taken the opportunity to be educators and advocates for transgender youth.  Hillary’s book Raising Ryland chronicles their experiences and sheds light on the work they now do for transgender youth.

You’re invited to be with us, sponsor a youth table or join other community and business leaders who support equality and justice for this 6th annual celebration of Harvey Milk. 1,000 are expected to attend!

Harvey served less than a year in public office before his brutal assassination in 1978.  His life profoundly changed a city, state, nation and a global community.  His courage, passion and sense of justice rocked a country and stirred the very core of a put down and pushed out community, bringing forward new hope and a new vision of freedom.

Click here to buy tickets for this event.

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