Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in California as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, was born on May 22nd, 1930. After being tragically assassinated along with George Moscone by Dan White in 1978, his untimely death has been honored and remembered for years to come.
This year 44 years later on what would have been Milk's 92nd birthday, the city is set to host a celebration of his life and legacy fittingly around the historical Castro.
Known as the "Mayor of Castro Street," it is only right that, beginning at 11 a.m., this district will be the host location for this venerable block party.
There will be free screenings at the Castro Theatre of three significant films, including "The Times of Harvey Milk," "The Ruth Brinker Story" at 2 p.m., and a double feature of both again at 3 p.m. with organ performances by David Hegarty.
At 6 p.m. there will be an exclusive ticketed gala hosted by Project Open Hand that includes panel discussions and a post-film reception following a special screening of legendary AIDS activist, "The Ruth Brinker Story."
"The Times of Harvey Milk" first premiered in 1984 right in the Castro Theatre, which then received international acclaim, becoming both an Oscar winner and a nationally recognized film in the Library of Congress. The documentary eventually became the inspiration for the similar Oscar-winning masterpiece, "Milk" in 2008 starring Sean Penn as the incredible gay-rights leader.
This screening will find its home once again back at the iconic theatre this year, and even as in its restored 35mm print.
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Right outside of the theatre at Jane Warner Plaza near the Twin Peaks bar will be the also-free kick off event at noon and the following block party at 1 p.m.
Slated to speak at the commemoration will be Milk's closest friends and colleagues such as Medora Payne Sobottka and Kent Denning. Many other elected officials and queer community members will be in attendance, all to pay tribute to Milk's trailblazing efforts for equality and respect in the city.
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Jane Warner Plaza right outside of Twin Peaks.
After the unifying and elucidating speeches will be the day-long block party courteously put on by BAAAHS, with music and coloful festivities all to vibrantly praise Milk and appreciate the formidable community of the Castro.
This event comes in relevant timing for reflection this year in regards to acknowledging the rising number of anti-LGBTQ and transphobic bills filed from 41 in 2018 to over 230 within the start of this year. "92 years since Harvey Milk’s birth, we face a country much changed and yet very much similar to 'The Times of Harvey Milk,'” states Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club Jeffrey Kwong.
This year Kwong hopes those participating in the lively activities will also take time to reflect on Milk's past life work and continue his progressive activism in their own empowering ways.
The Harvey Milk Celebration in both the Castro Theatre and the artistic Jane Warner Plaza is completely free and will run from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Tickets to the evening benefit and gala showing of "The Ruth Brinker Story" are $50 and can be purchased in advance here.
Photography by: Sara Rampazzo/Unsplash