The White House announced May 20 that Councilman Chris Seelbach has won the Harvey Milk Champion of Change award, which recognizes 10 community leaders around the nation each year for a commitment to equality and public service.
Seelbach, Cincinnati’s first openly gay council member, won the award after he was nominated by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). He was scheduled to officially receive the award at a ceremony at the White House May 22.
“I am humbled and proud to be recognized by the White House for my efforts on City Council and extremely grateful to the people of Cincinnati for giving me the opportunity to affect positive change in our community. In order to create a city where more people want to live, work and raise a family, we must continue fighting to make sure all people feel welcomed, valued and respected,” Seelbach said in a statement.
The award recognizes Seelbach’s accomplishments, but it also shows Cincinnati’s progress in the past few years.
In 2012, the city’s police and fire departments created a LGBT liaison.
The Harvey Milk Champion of Change award is named after Harvey Milk, who became California’s first openly gay elected official when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was assassinated on Nov. 10, 1978 — only 10 months after he was sworn into office.