Monday, November 27, 2006
IN MEMORY OF HARVEY MILK AND GEORGE MOSCONE
I wonder .... Does anyone remember Harvey Milk?-- the first openly gay man who ran for public office in 1977? Along with Mayor George Moscone Harvey was murdered in cold blood by the former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White who admitted in a later confession that he had actually planned to kill Carole Silver and Assembly leader, Willie Brown-- Speaker of the Assembly then and in 1995 he became the first African American mayor of San Francisco. He even planned to kill himself. For the cold blooded murder of two incredible men, Mr. White received a sentence of seven years and served only five before being pardoned. At the time of his conviction, the homophobic backlash and sentiment of people in government at this time were simply unbelievable. White had a friend drive him to City Hall that fateful morning and he had snuck into City Hall through a basement window. He confronted first Harvey Milk, killing him in cold blood and then White rushed into the mayor's office. The mayor asked him to move the argument to a smaller private room. Dan White wasted no time in murdering Mr. Mosconethe moment he arrived in the room and shut the door, proceeding after shooting him in the chest with two bullets to the poor man's head. White fled and was then confronted by an unsuspecting Dianne Fienstein who was then the head of the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco. White escaped and then the two bodies were found. White's trial coined the phrase "twinkie" defense and it was a dark time for the gay movement. Dianne Fienstein became the mayor of San Francisco and her career was subsequently begun. Harvey Milk was a brave, no holds barred openly gay politician. He was perhaps the first leader to openly oppose prejudice, hatred and discrimination of gay men and women. One thing I was surprised to learn. Not only are two schools named for this brave man (along with George Moscone) but Harvey (before politics) was the owner of a very large and popular San Francisco camera store. Our movement has had its trails and tribulations. Thank God for valiant men like Harvey Milk and George Moscone! Rest in peace!