oday is Harvey Milk Day — at least in California … for now — occurring every May 22nd, on Harvey's birthday, to honor the gay-rights activist who was assassinated in 1978. Harvey Milk is only the second person in California state history, after conservationist John Muir, to gain such a designation, and is the only openly gay person in the United States to be honored this way.
Harvey would be pleased, I'd like to think.
In 1977, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Both he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated less than a year later. Despite his short political life, Milk has become an icon in San Francisco and the LGBT community; proof that when we stand together, we can do anything.
Now, of course, there is no Harvey Milk Day in South Carolina, which is roughly ten to twenty years behind the times; and there is no Harvey Milk Day in most states, though some communities around the nation will be celebrating. But, maybe, just maybe, each of us, gay, and gay-friendly, can talk about Harvey today, and continue to spread in his word.
It may not be an official Harvey Milk Day, but it can be a day in which all the things he stood for, fought for, and died for, are remembered.
Happy birthday, Harvey.
And Happy Harvey Milk Day to everyone else, and here are some of Harvey's words, still ringing true today: This is Sean Chapin, Andrea Shorter, Randall Mann, Sister Roma, Courtney Walsh, and Aaron Wimmer reading Harvey Milk's famous "Hope" speech in honor of Harvey Milk Day in California.
You gotta give them hope!