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The Navy just named a ship after this gay rights icon. Here's why it matters.

Harvey Milk is known for one historic first. Now it's time for one more.

The Navy just named a ship after this gay rights icon. Here's why it matters.

Many people know about Harvey Milk's legacy as a gay rights icon. Less talked about is his history in the Navy.

From 1951 to 1955, Milk served as a diving officer aboard the U.S.S. Kittiwake, a submarine rescue ship. Milk achieved the rank of lieutenant junior grade prior to receiving an honorable discharge.

Following his career in the Navy, Milk devoted the next two decades to activism and public service, becoming the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. In 1978, he took office as a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors. Sadly, less than a year later, he was shot and killed.


Milk's personal possessions at the grand opening of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender history museum in 2011 in San Francisco. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

After his assassination in 1978, Milk received some of the country's highest honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2009, President Obama posthumously awarded Milk the highest civilian honor, alongside the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy, Stephen Hawking, Billie Jean King, Sandra Day O'Connor, Sidney Poitier, and Desmond Tutu. The president invited Milk's nephew, Stewart, to accept on his uncle's behalf.

"His name was Harvey Milk, and he was here to recruit us — all of us — to join a movement and change a nation," said President Obama. "For much of his early life, he had silenced himself. In the prime of his life, he was silenced by the act of another. But in the brief time in which he spoke — and ran and led — his voice stirred the aspirations of millions of people. He would become, after several attempts, one of the first openly gay Americans elected to public office. And his message of hope — hope unashamed, hope unafraid — could not ever be silenced. It was Harvey who said it best: 'You gotta give 'em hope.'"

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Harvey Milk's nephew, Stuart, in 2009. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

In 2014, Milk was immortalized in the form of a postage stamp.

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

And in 2013, supporters pushed to rename one of the terminals of San Francisco's airport after Milk.

Unfortunately, their plan never came to fruition, but the wide support for the plan illustrates the power of Milk's legacy.

Supporters of Harvey Milk during a rally at San Francisco City Hall in 2013. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

In July 2016, the Navy — where Milk began his historic career — announced that it will be naming a ship after him.

On July 14, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that ships would be named after Milk, women's rights activists Sojourner Truth and Lucy Stone, former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. The ships are named after civil rights icons as part of the "John Lewis class" of ships — itself named after civil rights activist and Georgia congressman John Lewis.

During his time in the Navy, Milk had to hide who he was. At the time, gay service members were banned from the military. It wasn't until 2011 that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals would be allowed to serve openly. And it wasn't until June 2016 that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that the ban on transgender service members would be lifted.

Milk's name among the engraved names of AIDS victims during a World AIDS Day commemoration event at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in San Francisco. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Now that all people are allowed to serve their country regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, it's only fitting that one of the most prominent LGBTQ activists made another historic first: becoming the first gay man to have a naval ship named after him.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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