“When President Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk the Medal of Freedom in 2009, he praised his leadership and courage in running for office. Today, we honor Harvey Milk’s legacy in these 10 outstanding public servants, who will surely inspire the next generation of public servants,” said Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama, in a statement.
Bell is the first out African-American lesbian in the nation elected to a state legislature; she was first elected in 2009.
In this past legislative session, Bell along with state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) introduced a bill to prohibit state tax dollars from going to private schools that discriminate against students, including LGBT students. The bill, however, was not passed.
Named the Anti-Discrimination Act, the bill was part of the Democratic legislative agenda for 2013. The bill came about in part after a recent study by the Southern Education Fund found Georgia tax dollars were going to religious schools that publicly ban gay and lesbian students.