30 Years Later, We Can Still Learn from Milk 

COMMENTARY: Thirty years after the death of Harvey Milk, Americans can still learn from his inspiring and profound work as an activist, politician and friend. With the story of his life opening in theatres this week, Lane Hudson takes a look back at how Milk's legacy lives on -- and what we can to do pay tribute to the legend.

BY Lane Hudson

November 27 2008 12:00 AM ET

As an example of
how amazing Harvey is, I would point to Proposition 6 in
1978, also known as the Briggs Amendment. Senator Briggs
sought to fire every gay that worked as a teacher as
well as those who supported gays. It was the
culmination of anti-gay referendums in different cities
around the country.

Proposition 6
started 60% down in the polls. In a meeting with the
Democratic establishment, Harvey soundly rejected their
strategy of appealing to the better nature of straight
people. Instead, he set out on his own campaign of
bringing gay people and their lives to the voting
public. Ultimately, Harvey's effort resulted in the defeat
of Proposition 6 by a two to one margin.

You have to
wonder how Harvey would have demanded that the campaign
against Proposition 8 be run. In a time of reflection on
major losses for our movement and much activism and
talk about a new generation of leaders, I believe we
should look back to Harvey for both inspiration and
guidance.

He was not only a
man ahead of his time, but made time catch up with him.
We can both honor his memory and recapture his spirit by
doing the same thing. He hoped that if his life was
ended by a bullet in his head, that it would remove
discrimination from the minds of people everywhere. That
hasn't happened yet and we need to work to realize Harvey's
dream. We are better off because of him and owe him
that.

When we have
achieved what Harvey set out to do, then we can rest. Until
then, Harvey Milk is still is here to recruit you. What will
you do to honor him and his life?

 

Tags: Politics

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