On his 92nd birthday, Harvey Milk continues to inspire
When the co-owners of the first gay bar in the city of Dubrovnik, in southern Croatia, thought about the name of their establishment, they were inspired by California. Milk, which opened on May 7 in the historic center of the popular tourist destination on the Adriatic Sea, is named after the late gay supervisor of San Francisco, Harvey Milk.
“The name was inspired by Harvey Milk, an American politician and activist who fought for gay rights,” co-owner Vicko Lazo told the publication. Slobodna Dalmacija. “Milk is the first public gay man to be elected to public office in California or San Francisco. After all, the name is effective, easy to remember for locals and foreigners alike.”
Milk, who would have celebrated his 92nd birthday on Sunday, May 22, continues to inspire people around the world 45 years after his historic election to a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. It represented two of the city’s most famous neighborhoods, the hippie enclave of Haight and the then-burgeoning LGBTQ neighborhood of Castro.
Tragically, Milk was shot inside City Hall just 11 months into his first term on November 27, 1978. Disgruntled former supervisor Dan White also killed then-mayor, George Moscone that morning.
Over the years, Milk has become a global icon for the LGBTQ community, with cities in various countries honoring him with streets and squares named after him. Since 2010, the state of California has marked May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, with an annual Governor’s Proclamation issued to designate the day of special significance.
“As the 2008 Oscar-winning biopic ‘Milk’ demonstrates, its message of compassion and hope rings as true today as it did almost forty years ago,” writes playwright and performer Justin Elizabeth. Sayre in his new book “From Gay to Z: A Queer Compendium” (Chronicle Books, $24.95) out May 10. “As Milk has always reminded us, ‘You gotta give them hope.'”
Ahead of this year’s Milk Day celebration, Queer Serial History podcast creator Devlyn Camp has released the first two episodes of his seven-part “Give ‘Em Hell” series featuring late gay supervisor Harry Britt, who was named Milk’s successor by then-Mayor Dianne. Feinstein. It features never-before-seen interviews between historian Will Roscoe and Britt about his tenure.
The series also contains the audio testament that Milk had recorded in case he was killed. The remaining episodes will air over the next few weeks and can be found here.
Various events will take place on May 22 in San Francisco to mark Milk Day. The Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District, and Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza are once again taking the lead in planning the city’s observance.
A block party honoring Milk will be held from noon to 5 p.m. at Jane Warner Plaza, the public park at the intersection of Castro, 17th and Market streets. After an approximately hour-long program, music will be provided by mobile nightclub BAAAHS, short for Big-Ass Amazingly Awesome Homosexual Sheep, and its gaggle of DJs.
Guest speakers include friends and colleagues of Milk, including Kent Denning and Medora Payne Sobottka, as well as local elected officials such as District 8 gay supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who represents the Castro and is due to return from a trip to Israel that morning. Matt Dorsey, newly appointed District 6 Gay Supervisor, will also deliver remarks.
Sobottka, 58, who grew up on Liberty Street in a politically active Unitarian family, would get her film developed at Milk’s camera shop in the Castro and later, as a teenager, would volunteer there during her unsuccessful bid for state assembly in 1976. She returned in 1977 to help elect her supervisor seat, though she told BAR she remembered best the night Milk lost against Art Agnos in the legislative race.
“I was really excited when he won, but I don’t remember the one he lost to Agnos. I was at the quote-unquote victory party, hopefully at the Island restaurant. Me and my friend We came up with a victory song,” said Sobottka, a straight guy. wife and teacher at Davis who said BAR had a lot of lesbian friends. “I also worked on that campaign (supervisor) but I can’t remember if I went to what turned out to be his victory party. I went to the camera store the next day and I said ‘Woo-hoo!’ with everyone. I was always very sad that I never went to visit him at City Hall.
Noting that Milk’s birthday is 11 days after hers, Sobottka recalled that the two were on a first name basis, although she “took her marching orders” from her campaign manager. Admitting that she’s “the world’s worst procrastinator,” Sobottka hadn’t yet decided what the theme of her speech would be or written it down when she spoke to BAR on May 12.
Had Milk lived and pursued his political career, he might not have become such a revered figure around the world in the fight for LGBTQ rights, Sobottka suggested.
“I think it was because of the circumstances of his death and Moscone’s death,” she said when asked about Milk’s iconic status today. “I think if he had just served his sentence and maybe moved on, it wouldn’t have been as famous cause. I don’t know if every cause needs a – I don’t mean martyr – that kicks it up another notch.”
The Castro Theater will screen the restored 35mm version of the Oscar-winning 1984 documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk” on Milk Day. The film debuted at the historic theater and in recent years has screened there for unofficial state holidays.
This year, the theater is also presenting “The Ruth Brinker Story”, a documentary about the founder of Project Open Hand. Brinker started the nonprofit to help feed people living with AIDS in the mid-1980s. She died aged 89 in 2011.
The documentary Milk will be screened at 11 a.m., followed by the film Brinker at 2 p.m. A double feature of the two films begins at 3 p.m. All screenings are free and ticketless, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis.
A special benefit screening of the film Brinker will take place at 6 p.m. and will include a panel discussion and post-film reception on the mezzanine floor of the Castro Theatre. Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance in line.
“As custodians of the LGBTQ icon that is the Castro Theatre, Another Planet is honored to help facilitate this special day that celebrates the life and legacy of two community icons, Harvey Milk and Ruth Brinker,” said said Mary Conde, senior vice president of Another Planet Entertainment who is in charge of the entire Castro Theater project. “This is exactly the kind of collegial and community partnership that we hope to continue in the years to come.”
In addition to a celebration, Milk Day is also a time for people to reflect on the state of LGBTQ issues, organizers said, with Republican-run state houses restricting the rights of their LGBTQ citizens. , especially transgender youth, and a pending decision from the United States. Supreme Court that could not only strike down a federal right to abortion, but also gay marriage and other civil rights.
“With the number of anti-LGBTQ bills filed in recent years skyrocketing from 41 in 2018 to 238 in the first three months of 2022, Harvey Milk Day is a crucial time to live Harvey’s words. Milk as we face the onslaught of homophobia and transphobia across the country,” said Jeffrey Kwong, a gay man who serves as Vice President of Events and Fundraising for the Milk Club.
For more information on this year’s event, visit its Facebook page.
Gay SF leaders host fundraiser for Esteen
Two of Milk’s gay successors to the board of supervisors, Mandelman and Bevan Dufty, who held the District 8 seat in the 2000s, are co-hosting a fundraiser for registered nurse and union leader Jennifer Esteen, with the aim to be the first black woman in the state. LGBTQ legislator. Like the three leaders of San Francisco, Esteen is Jewish.
She is running in the June 7 primary for the open seat of East Bay’s 20th Assembly District. Gay Dublin City Council member Shawn Kumagai is also in the running to succeed Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), who opted out of re-election this year and backed union leader Liz Ortega , who is straight, in the race. Next month’s top two voters will qualify for November’s general election.
Lesbian Rabbi Sydney Mintz of Congregation Emanu-el in San Francisco is also lending her name to the fundraiser, which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 31 at Dufty’s home in the Castro District. Suggested donations starting at $100 are requested from participants.
To RSVP and receive the event address, email [email protected]
Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com on Monday mornings for Political Notes, the blog’s online companion. This week’s column examined the position of various Bay Area candidates on the issue of single-payer health care.
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