Harvey Milk March Set For Downtown State College
May 18, 2010 10:50 AM
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As many 200 people -- or more -- may turn out Saturday for a Harvey Milk Day March in State College, organizers said.

It's thought to be the first local march honoring the gay-rights icon.

Borough Council on Monday gave the OK for the civil-rights-oriented public event, slated to start at noon with a variety of speakers at the municipal-building plaza, 243 S. Allen St. Then, at 1:30 p.m., marchers will follow a route through the downtown, stopping for issue-driven discussions along the way, organizers said.

The march is expected to conclude at University Baptist and Brethren Church, 411 S. Burrowes St., which will host an afternoon social and a public screening of the 1984 documentary film "The Times of Harvey Milk."

Milk, an elected city official in San Francisco, was a leading activist for gay rights until his assassination in 1978. The event here is being organized by Justice League-Activate!, the AIDS Project, the LGBTA Student Resource Center at Penn State, and RISE Advocacy.

Milk would have been celebrating his 80th birthday this week.

"It's about making sure all human beings are treated with equal dignity and equality under the law," organizer Caryn Winters said of the weekend event. She said the public gathering is "specifically directed toward the community" off campus. An earlier Pride March was held March 24 on the University Park campus.

Subjects addressed on Milk Day will include the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy; homelessness among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths; and government policies that can make it difficult for gay men to donate blood, organizers said.

They had wanted to close the 100 block of South Allen Street on Saturday and to kick off the march there. But Borough Council rejected that request, as several members said they generally try to keep road closures on that block to a minimum.

But they did encourage the organizers to make full use of the municipal-building plaza and Sidney Friedman Park, formerly known as Central Parklet. Mayor Elizabeth Goreham is expected to read a proclamation on Saturday announcing Harvey Milk Day in the borough.

Organizers said they plan to make the gathering an annual event and hope to use the 100 block of South Allen Street next year. Anyone who wants more information can e-mail them at [email protected], they said.

Also Monday, the Borough Council approved a zoning application for an expansion project at the Foxdale Village retirement community, 500 E. Marylyn Ave. Construction there is expected to begin late this summer and last two years.

Earlier coverage: Foxdale Village Plans For Large Expansion Project

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