“It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.” – Harvey Milk
The immortal words of Harvey Milk from 1973 still echo in a clarion call for equality for the civil rights of the LGBT community today. We may think that we have come a long way from Stonewall, but as Californian’s have learned in painful reminders of Proposition 8: Civil rights won, CAN be civil rights undone.
Harvey Milk’s gift to the Gay and Lesbian community was not only in raising awareness that “gay” was beautiful and natural, but proposed the radical notion that we shouldn’t live closeted away, nor to pretend we were anything other than what we were. He gave Pride to the community to fight for their rights within the very system that was oppressing them, a very risky and controversial move at a time when Televangelists held the ear of much of the nation.
The Lasting Legacy of Harvey Milk
His legacy reached far beyond rallying for gay and lesbian equality and herein laid the foundation for championing Human Rights across the board within San Francisco. He championed the elderly, the poor, and anyone considered underserved. Harvey understood that raising one group of people raises the bar and humanity of everyone.
By the tireless efforts of Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, along with Anne Kronenberg, Harvey Milk Day finally became recognized. It was with great honor that Harvey Milk Day came to be memorialized on May 22nd, 2009, and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
You can honor the legacy of Harvey Milk by supporting an LBGTQ organization with your time or financial donation. Though gay rights have come a long way since Milk’s assassination in 1978, recent “bathroom bills” and other threats to civil rights remind us there is still a long way to go.
To commemorate the important work of Harvey Milk, Gay Rights Activists for Change and Equality (G.R.A.C.E) is hosting a Harvey Milk Day celebration on May 20th at Pioneer park in Santa Maria, CA 1150 west foster road Santa Maria. Time: 11am- 3pm.