In November of 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to serve on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was the first non-incumbent openly gay member to sit on San Francisco's council. He was also one of the first openly gay politicians elected to serve in public office in the US.
In April 1978, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone signed the San Francisco Gay Civil Rights Ordinance. The ordinance – sponsored by Milk – gave gay individuals in San Francisco legal recognition in the face of discrimination.
One of many initiatives pushed forward by Milk, the bill became a key player in inspiring and upholding future anti-discrimination legislation.
“He was a powerful advocate for strong, safe neighborhoods, and pressured the mayor’s administration to improve services for the Castro such as library services, and community policing.
In addition, he spoke out on state and national issues of interest to LGBT people, women, racial and ethnic minorities and other marginalized communities” - The Official Biography of Harvey Milk
Milk’s determination to bring national attention to gay rights helped unfurl legislation against discrimination and his public calls for equality gave a voice to hope.
Championed by the San Francisco community and globally recognized as a leader for equality, Harvey Milk remains a figure of courage and strength today. His legacy continues to inspire millions as they work to advance initiatives for equal rights.
Today we honor Harvey Milk, a leader for equality, a voice of hope and progress, and by all measures a courageous individual, who – like others before and yet to come – accomplished extraordinary things. For more information about Harvey Milk, you can visit the Harvey Milk foundation.
Photo Credit: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library