40th Anniversary Of Harvey Milk’s Assassination

40th Anniversary Of Harvey Milk’s Assassination

The LGBTQ Community Celebrates The Honorary Politician

Yesterday many celebrated the life of and mourned the death of the first openly gay elected official in California, Harvey Milk was assassinated 40 years ago this week. Being in my mid-20s and Midwestern born, I only became familiar with Milk upon viewing the film about his life, Milk, when I got to college in 2010. After my first semester in college, I was invited by this super-hunky older guy to stay in San Francisco with him for the summer. He lived in the heart of The Castro, San Fran’s gay neighborhood where Milk once owned a camera shop showcased in his feature biopic. It was fun to visit Harvey’s for colorful comedy shows and beer, and to marvel in Harvey Milk Plaza, but I never truly realized how much he would help my generations of gays today.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Milk’s legacy remains solid. Dozens of people marched to Harvey Milk Plaza yesterday in remembrance of Milk and slain San Francisco Mayor, George Moscone, who were both murdered by jealous bigot, Dan White. Many family and friends spoke of Milk and Moscone, including creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, Cleve Jones. Jones told:

“If you were vulnerable, under attack, he was there for you. He was never a single-issue candidate. He understood the commonality of our struggle. Gay, straight. Young, old. Black, brown and white. Immigrant and native born.”

What was Milk's legacy?  And was it just about LGBT Issues? Yes, he was gay and he gave us someone to look up to, but he was someone anyone could look up to, anyone who believed in community.

Milk's political career centered on making government responsive to individuals, gay liberation, and the importance of neighborhoods to the city. At the onset of each campaign, an issue was added to Milk's public political philosophy. His 1973 campaign focused on the first point, that as a small business owner in San Francisco—a city dominated by large corporations that had been courted by municipal government—his interests were being overlooked because he was not represented by a large financial institution. Although he did not hide the fact that he was gay, it did not become an issue until his race for the California State Assembly in 1976. It was brought to the fore in the supervisor race against Rick Stokes, as it was an extension of his ideas of individual freedom.

Milk strongly believed that neighborhoods promoted unity and a small-town experience, and that the Castro should provide services to all its residents. He opposed the closing of an elementary school; even though most gay people in the Castro did not have children, Milk saw his neighborhood having the potential to welcome everyone. He told his aides to concentrate on fixing potholes and boasted that 50 new stop signs had been installed in District 5. Responding to city residents' largest complaint about living in San Francisco—dog feces—Milk made it a priority to enact the ordinance requiring dog owners to take care of their pets' droppings. Randy Shilts noted, "some would claim Harvey was a socialist or various other sorts of ideologues, but, in reality, Harvey's political philosophy was never more complicated than the issue of dogshit; government should solve people's basic problems." - wikipedia.com

Milk ushered gay rights in San Francisco when people still believed the LGBTQ community to be nothing but perverted pedophiles. I’m sure we can all bet Milk would be dazzled by how far America – and the globe – has progressed with LGBTQ and Human Rights. Imagine if he would’ve been able to meet Stonewall uprising’s Marsha P. Johnson, or even 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. It was almost ten years ago when Obama gave Milk’s nephew, Stuart, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in his uncle’s honor for his legacy of gay rights.

A New Children's Book Shares The Story OF Harvey Milk And The Rainbow Flag

A new children’s book has recently released and it shares LGBTQ history.

"Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag" was written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Steven Salerno. The book hopes to explain to children how Milk was an advocate for gay rights and the first openly gay man to be elected to political office in the United States.

That said, the story also folds in the creation and influence of the rainbow flag. This is due to it being the 40th anniversary of the Rainbow Flag's creation in 1978.

"Young readers will be provided with an inspirational universal example of how the energy and focus of people acting together can actually make positive changes in society in the face of unjust laws and attitudes," said artist Salerno to First Coast News.

Salerno also expressed how difficult it was to create the illustrations for the book. He says it took two months to create the initial sketches for each page. From there, it took another four to five months to finish the illustrations.

Salerno created the pages by drawing a variety of options for even the littlest of details. Then, he would upload the pages to Adobe Photoshop to add color, position the drawings, and create the final copies.

All of this was to create a children’s book that will properly express the struggle and joys that the LGBTQ rights movement went through to get to today's America.

“Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” is out now, and can be purchased on Amazon.

Stoli Vodka Launches Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle

​Stoli® Vodka, a brand that has been a massive supporter of the LGBTQ community for many years now, has come out with a limited edition bottle that celebrates one of our biggest and most beloved icons. 

Stoli® Vodka, the original premium vodka with uncompromising quality since 1938, announced today the launch of the Stoli® Harvey Milk Limited Edition bottle. Designed to celebrate the life and legacy of Harvey Milk, the Stoli Harvey Milk Limited Edition bottle continues Stoli®’s long-time history supporting the LGBTQ community and commemorates the 40th anniversary of Milk taking office in 1978 as the first openly gay elected official in California.

Each bottle is individually numbered and the bottle’s label was inspired by a mural by Paraguayan artist Oz Montania featuring the famed Milk quote, “Hope will never be silent.” The initiative will help raise funds for the Florida-based Harvey Milk Foundation.

Stoli is unveiling the limited-edition bottle today, May 22nd, also know as Harvey Milk Day, with a kick-off event at San Francisco's The Cafe, where Montania will unveil a new Harvey Milk mural inspired by his original mural at an LGBT community center in Paraguay. The event will feature remarks by Global LGBTQ rights campaigner Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk's nephew and the co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, who will speak about the impact his uncle has had on equality and freedom across the globe.

The limited edition bottle is a part of Stoli’s “Raising the Bar” program, the brand platform dedicated to the LGBTQ equality movement. “Raising the Bar” celebrates individuals and organizations central to advancing diversity and originality within the LGBTQ community. This reinforces Stoli’s recently launched “Loud and Clear” global advertising campaign, created to encourage people to find what drives them and celebrate their bold and authentic selves.

The Harvey Milk Foundation inspires individuals, communities and organizations to carry on Harvey’s values in a timeless vision for a better, more inclusive world. Stoli has worked with the Harvey Milk Foundation for years and is donating to the nonprofit to support its award-winning work towards global equality and acceptance. Proudly produced and bottled at the historic Latvijas Balzams, the donations from the Stoli Vodka Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle will help support Harvey Milk Foundation’s LGBTQ programming in Eastern Europe and the Baltic nations.

“We are excited to take our partnership with Stoli to a higher level this year as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of my uncle's historic 11 months of public service,” said Stuart Milk, Global LGBT advocate and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation. “The Stoli Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle recognizes our history and commemorates who helped lead us forward towards visibility, a visibility that will be enhanced by this wonderful tribute from a creative and passionate brand."

“Stoli has a long-time history of championing the LGBTQ community and giving back through a variety of philanthropic initiatives,” said Stoli LGBT National Brand Ambassador, Patrik Gallineaux. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue our partnership with the Harvey Milk Foundation and honor one of the most important activists in the community.”

The Stoli Harvey Milk Limited Edition Bottle is 80 proof, or 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), and a suggested retail price of $19.99 for 750ml.

To learn how you can join Stoli in supporting global equality and acceptance, please visit Milkfoundation.org and HeroesRaisingTheBar.com. For more information, visit www.stoli.com or follow Stoli on Instagram @Stoli, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stoli and on Twitter @Stoli.