Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Character Research: Tom Ammiano

Tom Ammiano was born in 1941 in Montclair New Jersey. As a school teacher in the 1970s, Ammiano was one of the primary organizers against Prop 6, which would have removed all gay, lesbian, and gay and lesbian friendly teachers from schools. In 1980, Ammiano became a stand-up comedian and also began running for the San Francisco Board of Education. He finally was elected in 1990 and became the Board president in 1994 when he was reelected. As president of the Board, Ammiano implemented gay and lesbian sensitivity curriculum for grades K-12. In 1994, Ammiano was also elected the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representing District 9 - the Mission District, Bernal Heights and Portola neighborhoods. While Supervisor, Ammiano was successful in creating a health care ordinance, a domestic partnership ordinance, and more. Ammiano currently represents the 13th District in the California State Assembly. He also serves on the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, the first such caucus in the United States.

Ammiano discussing his bill, Marijuana Control, Regulation, and Education Act

Ammiano giving an impassioned speech at a No on 8 Rally

Ammiano speaks to a crowd at "A Day Without a Gay" in San Francisco

For more footage of Tom Ammiano, borrow or rent The Times of Harvey Milk. The documentary and the bonus DVD from the 20th Anniversary Edition contain interviews from the 1980s as well as more recent interviews.

Essay by Tom Ammiano for Out and Elected in the USA

"After being an out gay teacher for many years, I ran for and won a seat on the Board of Education. My lover of 18 years, Tim Curbo, was also a teacher in the San Francisco school district. He taught Spanish bilingual education for combined kindergarten, first and second grade class. Tim had a real vocation, not just a job. He was widely loved and respected. He shared our relationship with his students, keeping a photo of me on his desk along with other members of his family.

When he was diagnosed with HIV, he initiated an age appropriate HIV/AIDS education program for the entire school. It became a model for the district. When he died a few years later, his memorial was held in the schoolyard and more than 500 teachers, students, parents and friends attended. The most moving testimonial was by a third grader who said he was grateful to have had Tim as a teacher and to know he was gay"

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