The Dedication of Harvey Milk Statue
Ms. PELOSI. Today, a statue of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk will be unveiled at City Hall in San Francisco. It is fitting that on the occasion of his 78th birthday, San Franciscans will gather to pay tribute to Harvey Milk's life and work at City Hall, where he served San Francisco and so tragically lost his life 30 years ago.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man elected to any significant political office in our history. This memorial will be the first such tribute to an LGBT leader to be placed in a seat of government in the United States.
Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. A year later, in one of the darkest weeks of San Francisco's history, Supervisor Milk and our beloved Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Supervisor Dan White.
Harvey Milk was a San Francisco hero, a champion of human rights and symbol to the world for LGBT civil rights. His political career was dedicated to shattering the silence of gay America. He firmly believed that the only way for gays to break down homophobia was to increase their visibility and irrevocably enter the consciousness of our Nation.
A popular neighborhood merchant and activist, Harvey Milk became a great progressive leader who transformed San Francisco political life and social culture for all time. He pioneered an open, participatory government accessible to all, especially those who had never before been engaged. For the first time, neighborhood and ethnic community activists and openly gay men and lesbians were appointed to positions of power and authority. He was a passionate advocate for seniors, and his populist agenda encompassed the needs of all of San Francisco's minorities.
Last week's California Supreme Court decision to strike the ban on gay marriage is a testament to Harvey Milk's enduring legacy. It is a significant milestone for which all Californians can take pride, and one we would not have reached without the courage and dedication of Harvey Milk and many LGBT leaders after him.
Harvey Milk did not live to see the immeasurable and global ramifications of his life. He continues to inspire us to strive for a society that honors his values of unlimited and equal opportunities for all our citizens. His legacy helps bring our country closer to the ideal of equality that is both our heritage and our hope.