Pride Profile: Harvey Milk, Activist/Martyr

(1930 – 1978)

Listed as one of Time magazine’s “100 most important people of the 20th century,” Naval and Korean War Veteran, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected in California, to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in1977; because he spoke out not only for LGBT people, but women, people of color and other communities living on the margins. 

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 fire 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 candle light vigil processing to City Hall; where today, a statue of Harvey Milk stands in its rotunda. 

President Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Medal of Freedom in 2009 and in 2014 the USPS issued the Harvey Milk Forever Stamp, the first time an openly LGBT person, as the White House put it, joined the select few “great and accomplished Americans to grace the corner of an envelope and represent the US to the world”.

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

  • Harvey Milk

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