The late gay activist and San Francisco politician Harvey Milk seemed to have organizing in his blood. His grandfather, a Lithuanian Jewish immigrant, helped found the first synagogue in his Long Island town, and Milk himself would go on to make great strides for gay communities across the country.
Milk first became interested in politics during the rampant police raids of gay bars of the 1960s. He was already affectionately known as the “Mayor of the Castro,” organizing Teamsters, firefighters, and construction unions. And though he lost his first races, when he finally won a position as City Supervisor in 1977, he immediately made history: Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected into political office in America. Tragically, his historic career ended on November 27, 1978, when Milk and Mayor George Moscone were murdered in City Hall by a fellow city supervisor.
Today, Milk’s legacy has been memorialized in documentary and feature films alike. A huge rainbow flag flies in Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco, and New York City even has a high school named in his honor.
We’re kvelling with pride.