Harvey Milk Day is organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation and celebrated globally each year held May 22 in memory of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist who was assassinated in 1978. The holiday was established by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 following the success of the award-winning feature film ‘Milk’ retracing Milk’s life.
Milk is a 2008 American biographical film on the life of politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black, the film stars Sean Penn as Milk and Josh Brolin as Dan White, another city supervisor who was Milk’s assassin. The film was released too much acclaim and earned numerous accolades from film critics and guilds. Ultimately, it received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning two for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Penn and Best Original Screenplay for Black.