In this tribute, Stuart Milk, the nephew of slain gay activist and former naval officer Harvey Milk talks about his famous uncle, the work the Harvey Milk Foundation does to educate the public on LGBTQ+ issues, and his thoughts on the Department of Defense naming a ship in his uncle’s honor. Also participating in the tribute will be USNS Harvey Milk’s new commanding officer, Captain James White, USN.
Note: The acronym USNS designates non-commissioned ships that are the property of the United States Navy. These ships are unarmed auxiliary support vessels owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Military Sealift Command. As opposed to USS designated ships, USNS ships have civilian crews and are commanded by active-duty naval officers.
About the Speakers:
Stuart Milk is a global LGBTQ rights advocate who has worked supporting struggling and emerging LGBTQ communities in over 60 nations on six continents. As the nephew of Harvey Milk and founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, he has expanded his uncle’s example of visibility and courage, successfully leading historic global campaigns and events in collaboration with the United Nations, Munich Security Conference, the U.S. State Department, the European Union (EU), the U.S. Department of Defense, and the White House. A featured commentator on television, he has also provided several historic media ‘firsts,” including advocating for LGBTQ rights on broadcast TV in various countries around the world. He has provided master lectures on the state of global LGBTQ rights at the world's leading universities in the U.S. and abroad including Harvard, Cambridge, Thammasat University in Thailand, Trinity College in Ireland, and the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, in Peru. He recently addressed the UN Security Council advocating for the global decriminalization of LGBTQ people and he was the keynote speaker for the first DOD Pride Celebration to be held at the Pentagon’s ground zero.
Stuart is the recipient of dozens of prestigious global human rights awards and honors and has worked alongside some renowned world leaders. He is most honored, however, to continue his organizing efforts with the hundreds of human rights advocates whom he describes as “everyday heroes” and the main force behind equality advances today.
Captain James White, USN, is the current Commanding Officer of USNS Harvey Milk and has served in the Navy for 36 years--3 on active duty and 33 years as a Military Sealift Command Civilian Mariner.
During his career he has been assigned to twenty different ships--commanding eight of them. He has participated in numerous contingency operations and has made deployments in support of the Navy to the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the Far East and in the Pacific and Atlantic theaters. Presently he is in the process of assembling the crew for the USNS Harvey Milk and is looking forward to the ship’s delivery to the Navy in June 2023.
He’s a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the Naval War College, and holds an unlimited tonnage ship master’s license.