Each year on the 22nd May we observe Harvey Milk Day. This key LGBTQ+ awareness day is organised by the Harvey Milk Foundation with a core focus on celebrating the memory of Harvey Milk who was a well-known gay rights activist who was brutally assassinated in 1978. This awareness day is celebrated on Harvey Milk's birthday around the world to both honour and remember him for all his efforts for the LGBTQ+ community.
Who was Harvey Milk?
Harvey Bernard Milk was a civil and human rights leader during the 1960s and 1970s. Most significantly, Harvey Milk became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States in 1977 when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
What did Harvey Milk do?
Born and raised in New York, Harvey Milk and his brother Robert Milk worked in the family's department store called Milks as young adults. When Harvey graduated from college in 1951, he enlisted in the Navy however resigned in 1955 after being questioned about his sexuality.
After leaving the Navy, Harvey Milk branched out within New York and started working as a public school teacher, stock analyst and further as a production associate for Broadway musicals. Throughout these years in New York, Harvey Milk found himself getting involved in more politics and advocacy before moving to San Francisco in 1972.
After relocating to San Francisco, Harvey Milk opened a camera store in the center of the city's gay community called the Castro district. This is where Harvey gained a lot of attention with him quickly becoming a well known and liked figure in the city. One year later in 1975 Milk declared his candidacy for the San Francisco Board of supervisors in a race he unfortunately lost, however he did not give up and found his famous history in 1977.
Harvey Milk beliefs
Harvey Milk believed that government should represent individuals, not just downturn interests whilst ensuring that equality for all citizens was adhered to. Harvey spoke for the participation of LGBT people and other minorities in the political process. The more gay people came out of the closet, he believed, the more their families and friends would support protections for their equal rights.
When was Harvey Milk elected?
Harvey Milk was elected to the position of city supervisor of San Francisco after winning the election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Harvey Milk made history as the first openly gay individual elected in the United States.
What happened to Harvey Milk?
On the 27th of November 1978, just 11 months after taking office, Harvey Milk was assassinated along with the Mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone. Dan White, the person who killed Harvey Milk stated he was angry that the Mayor had refused to reappoint him to his seat on the Board of Supervisors, from which he had just resigned. It was also understood that Dan White resented Harvey Milk as he was heavily against his reappointment.
What is Harvey Milk Day?
Harvey Milk day is organised by the Harvey Milk Foundation in memory of Harvey Milk. This key LGBTQ+ awareness date is a time to educate others about the extraordinary leader who courageously worked towards ending disclination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the 1970s whilst highlighting issues still faced by the LGBTQ+ community.
When is Harvey Milk Day?
Harvey Milk day is observed annually on the 22nd May to remember Harvey Milk as a prominent gay activist during the twentieth century. The date is observed on Harvey Milks birthday in remembrance and respect for the courageous leader he was.
When did Harvey Milk Day start?
Harvey Milk day was first observed in 2009 when the State of California officially designated May 22 as "Harvey Milk Day" in order to commemorate of the most known and impactful LGBT government officials to this date.
Harvey Milk Day Today
In the many years since Harvey Milk’s assassination, international public opinion has shifted on issues such as same sex marriage, LGBTQ+ individuals in the military, alongside other prominent and important changes. Although there has been a great leap into equality on a broader scale, there is still countless amounts of work to continue towards a more equal and loving society.
By observing Harvey Milk Day and highlighting what has changed, alongside pointing out many ways change is still required, Harvey Milk Day is still a prominent awareness day internationally to continue the fight for equality.
What is the Harvey Milk Foundation?
The Harvey Milk Foundation was established by Harvey's nephew, Stuart Milk, alongside his campaign manager and aide, Anne Kronenberg. The Foundation is dedicated to realising his vision of equality and authenticity for everyone, all over the world.
How to celebrate Harvey Milk Day?
Harvey Milk is day definitely worth celebrating whilst remembering Harvey for the amazing work he carried out on his mission for equality. There's been lot of positive change since the assassination of Harvey Milk, many of which is believed to have started from original advocacy created by Harvey.
As Harvey Milk focused on ending discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, the best way you can observe and celebrate Harvey Milk Day is to understand the efforts he carried out whilst helping others understand the struggles the LGBTQ+ community has endured, alongside the discrimination and inequality still faced in current culture.
Sharing articles, media or other content relating to Harvey Milk Day or the struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community is a great starting point, but if you want to go further, the Harvey Milk Foundation have numerous other resources on their website to get involved, or to donate to their cause.