The Harvey Milk Foundation


For my third post I decided to analyze Harvey Milk, “the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California”. In my analysis I also take a deeper look into the Harvey Milk Foundation, a foundation that is guided off of Harvey Milk’s dream.

 Historical Context

It was not until the age of 40 that Harvey Milk was open about his sexuality. Around 1972 he moved from New York City to San Francisco to the Castro District, an area where a migration of gay men was occurring at that time in history. It was not until 1977 that Milk won a seat in San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors after unsuccessfully running for office three times prior. His mission was “to build a better tomorrow filled with the hope for equality and a world without hate”.

While in office he was accountable for a strict gay rights ordinance for the city being passed. Milk grew to be a local celebrity in the gay community of San Francisco. Sadly, 11 months after winning his seat in the Board of Supervisors he was shot and killed in City Hall by a former supervisor, Dan White.

When was it created

The Harvey Milk Foundation (HMF) was created in 2009 by Stuart Milk and Anne Kronenberg. Stuart is the nephew of Harvey Milk and is a global LBGT human rights activist and political speaker. Anne Kronenberg is a LBGT rights activist and was Harvey Milk’s campaign manager during his 1977 campaign, when he won office.

HMF is a non-profit organization geared toward empowering local, regional, national and global organizations to live out Harvey Milk’s dream for a better, equal tomorrow. The organization focuses on the equality of all individuals within society to be able to participate equally. May 22 is dedicated to being Harvey Milk day. One of the HMF’s main missions is to see this day celebrated in as many communities as possible to help educate the world on inclusion and acceptance. A set of online and news media materials are always accessible on the foundation’s website and work hard to build events and monuments that have an educational focus.

I chose to include this artifact in the digital archive because Harvey Milk was a prominent figure in history in the uprising of LBGT acceptance. He empowered individuals to stand by who you are and educate the world on equality in all aspects of life.

Some could say that Harvey Milk was the leader of gay culture in San Francisco. He was looked at as an icon in the 70s and brought individuals of all cultures together to realize they are all equal. Even though he was assonated shortly after entering office, his legacy has been continued through his foundation to build a better tomorrow. Milk gave other individuals hope to pursue what they believe. He was the first openly gay person to be elected into public office, that in and of itself is an accomplish that changed the “political game” forever.          

To this day the Harvey Milk Foundation is utilizing their voice to educate and empower. On their website they have a section dedicated to education. There you can find a list of books which can be useful resources to help educators teach their students more about equality, Harvey Milk, and nonviolent activism. The HMF founders are frequently speaking to audiences about gay rights and pursuing LBGT equality.

The Harvey Milk Foundation was built on the history of Harvey Milk and his dream for a better tomorrow. Without Milk a new path to gay politicians would have been taken and San Francisco may not be the city it is today. Milk’s legacy is being continued and his lessons are always being passed along.

Walt Whitman’s poems could be related to the HMF. Whitman described his sexuality through his writing and attempted to expose his homosexuality to his readers. Unlike Milk, Whitman had a change of heart and re-structured his poems so his readers would not know what he was trying to exemplify. Milk stood by his beliefs and found for equality and positively impacted the lives of so many. IF Whitman would have done the same he could have reached a number of his readers as well.