Sarasota News Leader

05/17/2013

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NOT THE USUAL CULTURAL EVENT The Harvey Milk Festival website encourages people to follow the event on Twitter. Image courtesy harveymilkfestival.com THE HARVEY MILK FESTIVAL WANTS TO CONNECT YOU WITH YOUR 'INNER ACTIVIST' By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor This week's Harvey Milk Festival might sound like any other arts and culture get-together. The event started with a film screening Thursday, rolls on with an art show Friday and concludes with stacked music lineup Saturday. ter state approves marriage equality, LGBT friends and allies can't grow complacent. "We can't rely on, 'Well, so-and-so's got it,'" Fortner points out. "It should be everyone coming together and saying, 'We got this.'" But that doesn't quite tell the whole story. The festival, now in its fourth year, honors the life and work of its namesake, Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. In doing so, it is trying to force a new generation to stand up to support marriage equality and shout down intolerance. One art installation Saturday will give festival attendees that opportunity. Fortner calls it the "soapbox project." Participants will watch and listen to classic Milk speeches, then "connect with their inner activist" and step onto a literal soapbox to speak their minds. The results will be videotaped and compiled later. "This is a call to action," says festival Presi- The festival also wants supporters to contact dent Shannon Fortner. "This is the movement Congress. As Washington starts negotiating that's happening right now." Even as state af- the details of comprehensive immigration re-

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