On Harvey Milk Day, his nephew reflects on his legacy
'My uncle’s legacy has many monuments, all those openly LGBT elected officials, all those who live an authentic and open life'
Stuart Milk and others fought long and hard to have an official ‘Harvey Milk Day’ in California and finally succeeded three years ago.
Every May 22, the late LGBT activist’s birthday, Milk’s story, message and legacy are now globally celebrated. He was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Stuart Milk is founder and president of the Harvey Milk Foundation and in a statement released Tuesday (22 May) he said: ‘Today is the celebration not of a people or community or nation being better than another, but a celebration of the knowledge that we are so much less when we do not embrace, without qualification, all members of our unique and varied humanity.’
‘”¨”¨My uncle’s legacy has many monuments, all those openly LGBT elected officials, all those who live an authentic and open life, all those strong allies like our President in the United States that fight to keep us embraced, the hope givers who help to full fill our potential of equality.’
Milk fought hard against discrimination – including Proposition 6, a ballot initiative that would have made firing gay teachers—and any public school employees who supported gay rights—mandatory. It lost by a million votes. As a supervisor, Milk was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city but just 11 months into his term, he and Mayor George Moscone were murdered at City Hall by former Supervisor Dan White.
Milk was just 48 years old and had been a gay rights activist for less than a decade. Sean Penn won an Academy Award in 2009 for his portrayal of the activist in the biopic Milk. Dustin Lance Black also won an Oscar for writing the film’s screenplay.