ActivismCivil RightsEqualityGay CultureGay EldersLesbianLGBT HistoryMusicPoliticsWomen

Harvey Milk’s Birthday, a Celebration in Words and Song

“If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”

 – Harvey Milk

Born May 22, 1930, Harvey Milk is listed as one of Time magazine’s “100 most important people of the 20th century,” because he spoke out not only for LGBT people, but women, people of color and other communities living on the margins. 

A Naval and Korean War Veteran, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected in California, to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in1977.  At a time when anti-gay ballot issues were winning across the country, Milk and his coalition were a major force in defeating California’s “Prop. 6 Briggs’ Initiative” that mandated firing teachers for being gay. 


Assassinated in their offices at point blank range on November 27, 1978, Milk and political ally, Mayor George Moscone; mourners filled the street in a mile and half long candlelight vigil processing to City Hall; where today, a statue of Harvey Milk stands in its rotunda. 

As profiled on PBS’s series “American Masters,” pioneering, lesbian singer/songwriter, Holly Near created her legendary song for justice and equality, “Singing for Our Lives” in reaction to Harvey Milk’s murder.


As we stand on the threshold of Pride Month and the celebration of STONEWALL50, Holly Near’s simple yet powerful song, inspired by Harvey Milk’s simple yet powerful message, “you have to give’ em hope” are still inspiring our Community every day.




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