Harvey Milk Day is organized by the Harvey Milk Foundation and celebrated each year on May 22nd, to remember Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist assassinated in 1978. Milk’s story, message and legacy are globally celebrated on his birthday to give hope and inspire disenfranchised communities.
Milk was a visionary civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 making national and international headlines. His unprecedented loud and unapologetic proclamation as an openly gay candidate and his subsequent election, gave hope to LGBT people everywhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination.
On November 27th, 1978, a disgruntled former city Supervisor assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Milk received daily death threats and was aware of the likelihood that he may well be assassinated. He recorded several versions of his will, “to be read in the event of my assassination.” One of his tapes contained the now-famous statement, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” His nephew, Stuart Milk, a teenager at the time, and close with his uncle, came out, along with countless others across the nation, on the day his uncle was killed. Shortly after Milk’s death, people marching for gay rights in Washington, D.C., chanted “Harvey Milk lives!”
“I hope to leave behind good memories of someone who really tried to do good;” said Milk, “memories of an ear for all those who are troubled; memories of someone who did all they could, even if that means having less quantity of achievements and time. If I am remembered as an example of courage and a quality of hopefulness then maybe my life will have consequence.”
For more information, visit Facebook.com/OfficialHarveyMilkDay or Milkfoundation.org.